Energy Efficiency 101
Summer is coming to a close, which means we’re all paying the highest electricity bills we’ll see all year. What’s that about? I’ve had two electricity bills over $200.00 this year. It’s hard to escape this in Texas—a state that has set, and broken, its own energy consumption records THIS YEAR—but there are still ways to minimize the impact on your wallet whether you live in an apartment or a house. Part of being a responsible consumer is being a responsible consumer of our resources, like energy. There are more of us than any previous generation, and we have to do better as a whole.
Intro to Efficiency: If you’re not using it, turn it off. This goes for overhead lights, lamps, TVs, and computers. Our parents griped about this all of the time when we were little because *NEWSFLASH* Electricity costs money! Welcome to adulthood: where you pay for decisions you make in monthly billing cycles.
- One caveat: if you have the energy efficient light bulbs, check with the manufacturer—there are brands that use more electricity when turned on and off repeatedly. If you still use traditional light bulbs, then this caveat does not apply.
The Nitty-Gritty: These are things I didn’t think about until talking candidly with my peers and elders. Many of the modern advances that we use are wonderful time savers. Realistically though, what they save in time, they cost in energy use, which translates into a higher bill. Here’s how to shave down that bill:
- Air-dry your dishes. Yes. If you don’t have to use them immediately, then don’t run the heated drying portion of the dish cycle. Air is a free dish dryer—and so is a dish rag. You may not be able to do it every load of dishes, but work it into your routine to save money where you can.
- Use dark colors for your curtains. This will block much of the heat from entering your home through the glass windows. The area near your windows will be cooler than windows without curtains at all, or with light-colored curtains.
- Change your air filters, people! We live with calendars and alarms set for everything—set a calendar event to repeat every three months and make it alert you two days before it’s time, so you can go purchase what you need. When the air filter gets covered with pet fur, smoke from your misadventures in cooking, and dust, your A/C has to work increasingly hard to cool your place. Be nice to your A/C—keep its filter clean.
- Dry your clothes once. This is a big energy waster for anyone who has a washer and dryer at home. I’m guilty of drying my clothes, leaving them there, not wanting to iron so then restarting the drying cycle instead…and I’ve been known to do this 3-4 times because I’m “too busy.” I have made an end-of-year resolution to dry my clothes one time and to actually use my ironing board and iron like my mother taught me.
- This tactic will save your clothes from unnecessary wear-and-tear—meaning you don’t have to spend money to replace your favorites because you’ve dried them to death.
- If you don’t own an iron and ironing board, and one is not in your budget, consider purchasing “Downey Wrinkle Releaser.” It can be found in many places, and ranges in cost from $3.99 – $6.99.
- If you’re not into the scent of Downey, you can also use a simple spray bottle with water. Lightly mist your clothing, and use the Air Fluff setting (with no heat) for 5-10 minutes. That is a better option than running a full drying cycle.
You now have your degree in Energy Efficiency 101.
Remember, it’s not about going back to the stone ages, but about being aware. Electricity is not a renewable resource. Find your balance, and do your part to save some money, and give relief to our energy grid. Now, do what you do best: share this new found knowledge with others, and give me your tried-and-true tips for saving money on your electric bill.
This post was written by Michal Broussard, FTWCCU Loan Processor.