Now more than ever, you may be looking for ways to save money in your household. Regular expenses such as your weekly grocery bill or your monthly utility bills may come under scrutiny. This article will take a look at how you can audit your power bill and come up with a game plan on how to reduce your electric bill.
There are three main strategic categories on reducing your home energy:
- Energy Conservation: When you change your behavior to operate electrical devices differently.
- Energy Efficiency: When you adjust the building envelope or change products to make them use energy more efficiently.
- Renewable Energy: Switching your energy methods and mechanical systems to be self-sufficient, not requiring as much energy from utilities.
Energy Conservation Reduces Electricity Use
Did you grow up in a household where your parents told you to put on another jacket or sweater versus turning up the thermostat? This is energy conservation in its prime – adjusting your behaviors to conserve energy.
The most common energy conservation measures you can take are:
- Turning lights off when not in use. Instead, use window treatments that let light in.
- Using your heating and air conditioning systems differently, setting up different temperatures at different times of day using a programmable thermostat.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater and install low-flow showerheads.
- Use an electronic power strip to turn off when not charging.
Each of these methods can save you $100/year or more! Read more about spring energy conservation at energy.gov with their free tips.
Energy Efficiency Equals Energy Savings
Imagine the first car you purchased. Was it more or less fuel efficient than the one you have now? Much like automobile technology, new advancements in building materials and products allow your home to get a better “mpg,” or energy efficiency.
It all starts with an audit of your building envelope (you can even DIY this step), in order of priority:
- Insulation in your attic
- Air sealing your home
- Adding storm windows or weatherizing your windows
- Insulation in your walls
- Heating and cooling equipment upgrades
- Updating appliances to the latest energy efficiency technology
If you are interested in seeing a difficulty vs cost vs ROI comparison chart, check out our energy efficient homes article. It also gives an explanation of each point and some suggested next steps for your research & game plan.
Make sure to research what state and local incentives are available. You may find you can get a rebate or tax credits with many purchases that make your home more energy efficient. Head to https://www.dsireusa.org/ to look up all the incentives and loan programs for energy efficiency in your state.
Geneva S. is a homeowner located in Louisiana, living in a 1950s house. Her home was getting a lot of airflow and her energy bills were out of control: $300 a month! She knew the large windows in her house were a problem and wanted to increase the energy efficiency through improving the insulation on the windows. At first she tried putting up plastic sheeting, but it only gave moderate results and did not look very good. That’s when she contacted Indow to upgrade her windows with window inserts.
She installed 17 inserts on her windows, which cost a fraction of the price that window replacements would have cost. The results were a 50% reduction in her electric bill, which is much higher than the 20% average savings Indow inserts provide. Because of the reduced airflow, she simply felt more comfortable in her space and was able to keep the thermostat at a higher level (78 degrees) because the air conditioning was kept inside for a longer period of time.
Use Renewable Energy to Lower Electric Bills
If you really want to reduce your electric bills, consider switching to renewable energy. Solar power is one of the most accessible options, but wind and hydro power are also considerations depending on how large your property is and what geographic features are around you.
These sort of solutions don’t just save you a small percentage of your power bill – they almost eliminate it. That could end up saving you over $1500 a year, with up to $30,000 over the life of the solar power system.
The problem is that it’s a costly endeavor upfront, around $13,000 even with the various rebates and tax credits. Solar has continued to drop in price, and with many state programs still available, it has become even more accessible to a larger community.
Check out this article on how to plan for home renewable energy and start planning which solution is right for you.
We applaud you on your efforts to find ways not just to save money on your electric bill, but how to reduce your carbon footprint. Did you find a great way to save money on your power bills that was not mentioned? Make sure to comment in the post below or head to our social media pages and share your tips on how to reduce your electric bill and what works best for you!