“How can we help our clients save more energy at home?” is a question we at Smallworks continue to ask ourselves with every home we build. Affordable Vancouver housing means taking into account all related costs, including electricity and heating bills.
We’ve already shared with you some tips on saving energy and ideas for energy saving products to consider installing. Now we want to give you some easy habits for saving electricity that will take you just seconds to do.
Here are 5 easy ways to save energy at home:
1. Switch off the things you aren’t using and turn them back on only when you need them.
It used to be the case that turning an appliance or light off and on all the time shortened its potential lifespan, but technology has advanced so much that lights, appliances, and gadgets can be turned off whenever they are not needed and turned back on when they are, without any risk of damaging them. Leaving something on for more than a brief period of time uses more energy than shutting it off and turning it back on when you need it, so shutting things off is a great strategy for saving electricity. If you find it difficult to remember to turn your lights off when you are not using them, try installing an auto-sensor.
2. Unplug items you aren’t using
Turn off your appliances and electronics when you aren’t using them is the first step, but it’s not enough. Leaving things off but still plugged in means that appliances are still sucking electricity from your wall socket. Your TV, computer monitor, charger, microwave, and anything that remains lit up even when it is supposedly turned off is still using energy to keep running, even when you think it is shut down. You can either unplug the items that are not in use individually, or get a power strip that allows you to cut power from anything plugged into it with a flip of a switch.
3. Skip screen savers and put your computer in sleep mode.
Put your computer on sleep mode when you are not using it. Screen savers do nothing at all to save energy: in fact, a screen saver is actually a file your computer is running, which means that screen savers use energy. Set your computer to go into sleep mode after a short period of inactivity (10 or 15 minutes). Also, set your monitor to turn off in the same time frame, or even shorter (e.g. after 5 minutes).
4. Turn off your computer overnight.
Sleep mode still uses a significant amount of energy, so you should shut your computer down completely when you go to sleep, or any time you won’t be using the computer for a long time. Otherwise, both your computer and the monitor will continue to draw power to keep themselves ready to wake up the second you want to use them again. You can set your computer to shut down at appointed times without even having to be there to turn it off yourself.
5. Turn down your thermostat a degree or two.
Going down even one or two degrees in your home heating can save you a lot of energy costs – even more than using an electric space heater to heat up just one room. Space heaters are only a good option if you really only use one well-insulated room for a long time. If this is not the case, then you are better off just adapting to a slightly cooler house. Put on an extra sweater or pair of socks, and you won’t even notice the difference.
Of course, simply living in a laneway house is another easy way to save on electricity and heating. With less rooms to light up, fewer appliances, and a smaller space to keep warm, tiny house living naturally consumes less energy and makes for more affordable housing. Use these tips and combine them with lifestyle changes, and you will save a great deal of energy in the long run.