There are so many ways we can save energy that implementing everything at once is overwhelming. After all, change does take time.
Since it’s easier to make adjustments one at a time, we’re continuing our series that explores how to save energy room by room. We have already offered 15 no-cost ways to save electricity in the kitchen. Today, we focus on how to save energy in your living room.
Saving Energy With Electronics
- Change your TV’s settings. If you have a newer television, it probably has a power-saver mode to cut back on electricity consumption. You can also adjust the brightness and contrast of the picture to decrease the energy it uses. Worried about your TV looking dim now? Just minimize the room’s lighting and you’re all set. For more, check out CNET’s TV power-saving tips.
- Use a power strip for all of your electronics & turn it off daily. Plugging all of your devices – your TV, cable box, video game system, etc. – into a power strip and shutting it off will help eliminate the vampire energy that these large devices use even when they’re turned off. Vampire energy could account for as much as 10% of your electricity bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Unplug all electronics when not in use. If you can’t plug your devices into a power strip, make an effort to unplug them when you’re not using them to avoid the vampire power drain.
- Buy Energy Star-certified electronics. The next time you’re upgrading your TV or any other electronic, consider an Energy Star model that the government has deemed more energy efficient.
Saving Energy With Lights
- Use only the light you need. It’s better to use a lamp to light the area that’s occupied rather than lighting the whole room if there’s only one or two people in it.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room for good. Simple, yet effective.
- Install energy-efficient bulbs. We’ve discussed the basics about incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LEDs before. Using energy-efficient light bulbs can use up to 80% less electricity than the traditional incandescent bulb.
- Buy bulbs based on the amount of lumens, not watts. Lumens measure the amount of light a bulb provides, as opposed to watts, which measure how much energy a bulb uses. Now that technology has improved to the point where we can get the same amount of light with a lower wattage, we have to change our buying habits and purchase bulbs based on their lumens. The video from U.S. Dept. of Energy below provides a quick explanation of this.
Other Ways To Save Energy
- Use your ceiling fan correctly. During the summer, air conditioning is often the culprit of above-average electricity bills. Your ceiling fan can make the room feel four to six degrees cooler, which saves you money on electricity since fans use less electricity. You can still use your fans during the winter, too, because most have a switch that change the direction the air is flowing and force hot air at the top of your room down.
- Keep your chimney closed when not in use. Closing your chimney will prevent your adjusted air from escaping outdoors. Of course, if you decide to use your fireplace to start a fire, you have to remember to open it up prior to creating a flame.
- Use shades to your advantage. If it’s hot outside, close your blinds and drapes to keep the sun’s direct light from warming up your home. If it’s cool, open the drapes and let the sun heat up your house.
- Set your thermostat according to the season. The PUCT recommends a 78-degree temperature in the summer when you’re home (80+ when you’re gone) and a 68-degree temp in the winter.