Quick Ways To Lower Energy Costs

Happy Earth Day! Although when I was younger, we had a saying — “Every day is Earth day.” Kinda true, right? We talk a lot about going green here at C&H — materials, best practices, energy efficiency — but sometimes, making changes for the better can seem a little overwhelming.
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Never fear – we’ve rounded up a few simple things you can do to lower your energy costs and shift yourself into a greener state of mind.
1. Eliminate phantom power. If you have an electronic device that’s turned off but still plugged in, it can use what’s called “phantom power.” Your best bet is to unplug anything that’s not in use. And if you’re running out for errands or another extended period of time, switch your computer to its sleep or hibernate mode before you go.


2. Adjust your thermostat. It seems counter-intuitive, but by turning your thermostat up just a couple of degrees in the summer and down in the winter, you can save a lot of energy. And the best part? That two-degree difference isn’t enough to radically shift your home’s temperature. In the summer, you can also install and use ceiling fans throughout your home–these, combined with the slightly higher thermostat setting, allow plenty of air to circulate so that you don’t sacrifice comfort while you’re saving energy.
3. Choose paint colors wisely. If you opt for a lighter paint palette on your walls, the room will reflect more light, which means you won’t need to rely on as many lighting sources. Of course, we don’t want to ban you from using dark or richly hued paints–just make sure that whatever you use, it’s a low- or VOC-free paint.
4. Cold water wins. When you’re doing laundry, most of the energy is spent heating up the water for the wash cycle. If you opt for cold water instead, you can save a lot of energy. And don’t worry about the cleanliness of your clothes. Many manufacturers have started making detergents that are designed for cold-water use, so you can still get complete cleaning power in a more energy-efficient way.
What are some of the simple changes you’ve made to go green and save energy?
Photo: Flickr.com/photos/cogdog/5637144486/

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Katy Schamberger
Katy Schamberger is a Kansas City-based freelance writer, editor, blogger and author who weaves experience as a journalist, magazine editor and Chief Content Officer to create compelling, engaging copy that informs, entertains and inspires action. Oh, and she likes to take photos, too, especially of architecture, food and cocktails. Welcome!