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5 Practical Steps to Conserve Energy in the Household

Conserve Energy

Picture this: It’s 7am. You walk into the kitchen to brew some coffee and start your day, but you notice that the lights were left on, water is dripping from the sink faucet, and the glow of the TV can be seen in the next room.

You have two options: Get upset, or use this as a teaching moment for your family.

With so many of us working and learning remotely, you might be seeing an increase in your monthly electric and heating bills. While this may be jarring at first, there are actionable steps you and your family members can take to conserve energy in and around your home.

We all have a responsibility to conserve energy wherever we can. It helps us protect the planet, and also makes us better citizens! Instilling these beliefs and practices into your children from the time they’re young will help set them up for lifelong success as consumers and conservers of energy. That’s why sustainability is one of the 5 Pillars at MUSE Virtual. We know how important it is to take proper precautions to preserve the future of our planet, so we infuse it into our K-12 curriculum.

Taking the time to talk to your family about conservation practices is an important teaching moment for all of us, regardless of our current habits. But we know that conservation might not be at the top of your priority list right now with so much else going on in the world. So let us help!

 Here are some questions to share with your family, especially younger children. Engage with them as you present this checklist so they can learn to incorporate this into their daily routines!

1. Did I turn off the lights?

It may sound simple but turning off the lights can be overlooked if we’re in a rush. It’s also easy to forget about turning off the lights if you think that someone else might use the room after you. So an easy rule of thumb is this: If you’re the last person to leave a room, switch the lights off as you go!
Tip: Choosing LED lights will help you save money over the course of the bulb’s lifetime, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

2. Did I turn off the fan?

The ceiling fan is another oft-overlooked appliance that is costing you energy (and money!). Did you know that fans don’t cool the air? They only cool people! So if a room is empty but the fan is on, that’s definitely energy wasted. Getting into the habit of turning off fans when a room is empty is a great way to conserve.
Tip: EnergyStar has a great compilation of the most efficient ceiling fan and lighting products. If you’re looking to switch to products that are more energy efficient, check it out!

3. Did I turn off the TV?

Many people have a habit of falling asleep with the TV on. A quick fix here is to start setting the sleep timer when you lay down at night. Many TV remotes have them and it’s a simple way to continue your nighttime habit while developing an energy-friendly one! Of course, this can also be tied into checking to make sure the lights and ceiling fan have also been shut off when leaving a room.
Tip: Deactivating standby mode and lowering the brightness on all of the TVs in your home. Some devices utilize standby power when they’re not in use, so turning off this feature can help reduce energy consumption even when your TV is off!

4. Am I washing my clothes in cold water?

Energy.gov says that using less water and cold water can help reduce the amount of energy when it comes to laundry. This also goes for hand washing and teeth brushing. Energy is needed to heat the water, plus the likelihood of having to run the water for longer to wait for it to heat is higher. In addition, try not to do small loads of laundry and wait instead to do a full load. If you have to do a last-minute wash to get that soccer uniform clean in a hurry, use the appropriate settings on your washer and dryer for better conservation of both water and energy.
Tip: If you can, use a clothesline to air-dry your clothes a few times a month! You might be surprised by how easy this is, and how much water and energy you can save, especially in bigger households.

5. Am I heating and cooling my home naturally?

According to Direct Energy, HVAC is credited with 46% of the electricity usage in a typical household. That’s nothing to laugh at! Luckily, there are some simple habits you and your family can develop to conserve energy and curb this usage. In the colder months, open your blinds and curtains to let sunlight flood your home and offer natural lighting and heat! In the warmer months, do the opposite to keep cooler air inside and the hot sun out. Doing this will help your cooling and heating systems work more efficiently, and have the potential to lower your electricity bill!
Tip: If you’re in the market for new heating equipment, consider energy efficient models. If you use an air conditioner often, be sure to change the filter once a month to reduce the risk of clogging and to improve performance. Energy.gov has more tips for heating and cooling systems.

Some other checklist items to consider:

  • Unplug appliances that aren’t in use (coffee maker, charging devices and cables, etc).
  • Only charge devices when necessary and try not to leave them plugged in overnight.
  • Make the switch to water-conserving shower heads and faucets.
  • During the holiday season, set your decorative lights on a timer so they don’t stay on overnight.

Now that you’re equipped with this handy checklist, you can go through your days with more mindfulness of how to conserve energy and less worry. This awareness of how to protect and conserve the planet is infused into the fiber of the MUSE Virtual curriculum. With sustainability at the forefront of everything we do, we’re equipping the next generation with the practicality and mindfulness needed to be changemakers when it comes to our planet. Learn more about Sustainability at MUSE Virtual.

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