Each year, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22 in more than 193 countries to support and raise awareness about environmental protection. Beginning in 1970, and recognized by more than a billion people annually, it is the largest secular observance in the world. It’s a day to recognize that what we do in our daily lives impacts the environment as a whole. Today, as we consider our affect on the planet with an increased sense of urgency, here are just a few ways you can make small changes around your home.
Set Your Thermostat to Maximum Savings
Not only will turning up your thermostat during the summer months decrease your use of nonrenewable energy, it can save you money. For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 for an eight-hour period, you save up to 3 percent on your utility bill. Additionally, the Department of Energy estimates that turning thermostats up 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away for the day could lower your utilities by up to 10 percent. One rule of thumb to keep in mind: The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. And, the planet will thank you.
Choose the Right Lighting
Lighting is everything! Opt to pull the blinds on your sunny windows to help keep your home cool during the day. Also, daylight hours are a perfect time to turn off your lights, which both use up energy and create heat. Investing in energy-efficient lightbulbs like LEDs will help the planet and save you money. Though the cost is more up front, LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours, or 50 times the typical incandescent light. LED lights also last about 11 years, for an average cost of $1.17 a year.
Avoid Vampire Energy
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, $10 billion is wasted every year on vampire energy, or energy used to power electronics when they are plugged in but switched off. Try unplugging your devices when you’re finished using them. For TVs and other electronics, consider purchasing a smart power strip, which can save about $100 per year.
Opting to cook outside instead of using the oven can help lower cooling expenses while allowing you to enjoy the summer weather. Appliances in the kitchen can raise the temperature by up to 10 degrees, so try to avoid cooking indoors and opt instead for a barbecue. If you do want to cook inside, remember that microwaves use only one-third of the energy an oven does while producing only a fraction of the heat.
Visit Your Utility Company’s Website
Utility companies like Dominion Energy usually offer programs, tips and rebates to help you save energy and money in your home. Click here to see some programs offered by Dominion Energy, including a Home Energy Check-Up and a Heat Pump Tune-Up.
While Earth Day is a great opportunity to recognize the beauty of the planet as a whole, it’s also a perfect time to identify the small ways that we can impact our environment through energy consumption. Try some of these tips to save energy and money, and to feel good about your contribution to the earth.