The United States’ residential electric usage sits around 1.44 trillion killowatthours (kWh) according to a 2019 statistic from the U.S. Energy Information Association. 1.44 is a lot of energy, and that’s only or residential usage. 1.44 kWh doesn’t account for industrial, commercial, or transportation usage. All of that combined puts us in second place for the highest energy consumption per year only behind China.
Currently the U.S. gets most of it’s electricity from natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy according to the U.S. Department of Energy; however, steps have been made to move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources like wind turbines, solar plants, and geothermal energy. Even so, U.S. energy consumption is expected to rise gradually over time and everyone being stuck in their homes isn’t helping.
To do your part and combat the effects of excessive energy consumption if you live in an area that depends on less sustainable energy sources, there are some simple everyday steps you can take to live a more eco-friendly life.
My favorite way to cut down on energy consumption is to replace electronics with cost-effective, manual-use items. This not only helps me cut down on electricity consumption, it also helps me be more mindful of the products I use and consume. More-or-less, it helps me to live simply and be more kind to the planet.
Here are a few ways you can cut down on your energy consumption!
Use a french press instead of a coffee machine- This has become one of my favorite morning routines, albeit I’m not yet a master of the french press. My sister will tell you, you’d be lucky not to get coffee ground in your coffee when I make it. Instead of using the coffee machine in the morning, or plugging one in over night on a timer, we use a french press which isn’t an electric appliance at all. Beyond helping us cut down on electricity usage, the french press also helps me to be more conscious in my morning of how much I’m making and allows me to care more about the process. This has also helped us cut down on our use of items like disposable coffee pods and coffee filters. It’s a win all around.
Hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer- I have never been a very big fan of laundry racks, but will do it when it’s reasonable. A simple laundry rack costs about $16.00 at Target, and there’s always a variety at other stores as well. The reasons why I’m not very keen on this method is that it takes clothes far longer to dry than in the dryer, and it takes up a lot of space depending on how much laundry you do per load. However, it does help cut down on the energy that would have been used while running the dryer for upwards of an hour per load.
Use candles/open windows instead of lamps- Who doesn’t love some fresh air and a delightfully scented seasonal candle? NO ONE! In our house the lights only get switched on if necessary when the sun goes down. Any other time of the day, we leave the blinds open on our windows and burn candles for light (and for a peaceful ambiance). One of the first things most people think of when they try and identify their energy consumption is that they leave lights on often during the day, and for the most part it just isn’t necessary. Switching from overhead lights and lamps to natural light and candles is a nice way to be a more conscious energy consumer.
Take a walk instead of using the hair dryer- This one is great both for decreasing energy consumption and for your mental and physical health. Sure it won’t get you that blowout you see in the magazines, but it will defiantly give you a nice windswept look. One of the biggest reasons hair dryers made this list is there one of the only items that will almost always cause a blown fuse. If it’s using enough energy to blow a fuse, it’s using too much energy. Aside from that it can be so nice to get out and get some fresh air, and I know, being stuck inside these last few months, we could all use a little more time in the sun. Go out and get all the nice crisp fall air you can and let your hair dry naturally. It’s healthier for your hair as well.
BONUS TIP: Designate one set of outlets in each room that can be used for plugged in objects. If you can only use two outlets at a time, you’ll be more conscious of your energy usage. Unplug anything that is not actively in use and prioritize what you’ll need charged or actively need to use.
Hopefully some of these ideas have struck a cord with you! These little ways in which we can cut down on energy usage can have a huge difference in the long run if we all do our part. And these are just small ideas, beyond these there are so many ways you can go even further in to cutting down your energy consumption in your home or in your community. Your wallet will thank you when the electric bill comes, and the planet will that you every single day.
Let me know: How do you cut down on your energy consumption in your day-to-day life? Have you found any tips or tricks to be particularly helpful in your endeavor to be more eco-friendly with your energy usage?