The Latest and Greatest Ways to Save Energy at Home
Are you always looking for the next best way to save energy at home? Have you already tackled most of the basic energy efficiency steps, like sealing air leaks and installing LED lighting? If so, this guide is for you. Here are a few tips to help reduce your home’s energy use and take your savings to the next level.
Take advantage of new pricing plans.
Some power companies enable consumers to participate in pricing plans that encourage using electricity during the hours when prices are lowest. This typically means adjusting your electricity-intensive activities like washing clothes to the morning, evening and weekend hours. Doing so can result in considerable savings. You can also sign up for reward plans to earn bill credits by reducing electricity use on especially hot days.
Grab a smart thermostat for a discount.
Consumers looking to upgrade to a smart thermostat can usually find a rebate to help. Many power companies provide rebates on the best smart thermostats, including options from ecobee, Nest and Honeywell. And, once you pocket the savings from the purchase, you can enjoy the benefits of a smart thermostat learning the temperatures that you prefer and developing a schedule that automatically adjusts to energy-saving temperatures whether you are asleep, away or at home. On average, these features can help save you between 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling. Of course, this figure can vary significantly based on the size of your home, your energy-related habits and other factors. In the end, the ability to control the temperature of your home remotely through your smartphone will give you peace of mind wherever you might be.
Use voice assistants to manage your energy use.
If you already own a voice assistant device, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, consider pairing your smart appliances, thermostat, plugs or lighting to give you better control over your energy usage. You can set up quick routines; for example, if you engage your voice assistant with a simple “goodnight,” it will automatically turn down the temperature and turn off all your lights. These routines can help you automate energy savings by controlling multiple devices with a single command. Also, check with your power company, because these devices are now being enabled to answer questions about your energy usage and bills personalized with your data, giving you an easier way to manage your account.
Charge your electric vehicle when energy is cheapest.
Most electric vehicles (EV) can be programmed to start charging at a specific time. If you’ve already made the switch to an energy-efficient EV, look into a time-based electricity plan that charges less for nighttime use. If you set your EV to charge overnight, you might find that your electric bill actually goes down rather than up. On top of that, you may even be eligible to receive rebates from your power company for installing EV equipment at your home. If you’re still looking to see if an EV is right for you, use an online comparison tool to find the best option.
Discover your home’s solar potential.
There are many variables involved in deciding whether to install solar panels on your home, including how many years it would take to reduce your energy bill enough to offset the costs of the installation. Online solar concierge services, whether through your power company or a resource like Google’s Project Sunroof, are available to provide information on estimated bill savings, what size installation is the best fit for your home and financing options. And, as the cost of solar systems are dropping, whether you lease, take out a loan or purchase a system, you may be able to start generating savings right away.
Program your life to use less energy.
A tech-savvy user can utilize the If This Then That (IFTTT) web-based service to get all your apps and devices talking to each other and eventually saving energy. You can enable location-based commands to turn off lights and appliances when you leave home. And, if you feel like you’re always charging your phone or tablet, you can set a reminder when you leave the house to turn off battery-draining features like Wi-Fi. Some power companies allow IFTTT tools to decrease your energy use by setting your thermostat at a higher temperature automatically during a period of hot temperatures.
Pair a home solar panel system with an energy storage option.
By equipping your home with energy storage, like Tesla’s Powerwall batteries, you can make your home more resilient and save money. Your home will be protected from outages with the carbon-free electricity available in your battery, and the solar panels will allow you to save money by producing your own electricity. Your solar-plus-storage system could also store excess energy during the sunniest hours of the day and use it instead of buying electricity from your power company when your home use exceeds your solar panel production and at night when the sun’s not shining.
With these tips you can save money and reduce your energy use by taking actions that fit your lifestyle. Check with your power company for even more insights. The emergence of smart meters and other new technologies allows you to see what appliances are using the most energy in your home, along with the ability to compare your energy usage to your neighbors’. Equipped with this valuable information, you can be assured you’re taking the most informative path to saving money.