Signing up for one or both of these free digital tools enables you to get a detailed analysis of your home’s energy use as well as providing you with customized solutions to increase your home’s efficiency.
It’s easy to get lazy when it comes to powering off electronics, but you should be scared of allowing vampire electrical loads to suck up all your power!
Plug load refers to the electricity used by products and appliances that are powered by ordinary AC plugs, typically excluding building electricity consumption attributed to major end uses (heating, ventilating, air conditioning, lighting, water heating, etc.). Source: nordman.lbl.gov/docs/taxonomy.pdf
Reducing plug loads is an important step in moving toward net zero energy buildings. There is evidence that plug loads are becoming responsible for a higher proportion of total building loads as buildings have become more energy efficient, suggesting that small reductions in plug load electricity consumption can have relatively large impacts on electricity conservation. Source: Institutebe.com
➜ Click below to see our list of electronics related energy tips!
1. Make an inventory of your current plug load situation.
2. Eliminate unnecessary appliances.
3. Put as many appliances as possible on power strips so that devices can be easily disconnected.
Here is a good list of power strips with remotes, for easier access. If you would like to go one step further, consider purchasing smart strips– they automatically shut off power to any devices not in use! To learn more about smart strips, click here.
4. Buy fewer new appliances, get creative with the ones you already own
5. Have your computer set to “sleep” automatically.
Keeping it on for extended periods of time wastes energy and reduces the life of your machine. Better yet, shut down your computer when not in use.
6. Plug all personal space heaters, fans, cell phone chargers, and similar appliances into power strip occupancy sensors.
7. Use power-hungry appliances sparingly!
Nearly all of the top 10 power-hungry plug loads have a common feature: an electric heating element! Sources include:
- Hair dryer
- Microwave oven
- Popcorn maker
- Toaster oven
- Clothes iron
- Coffee machine
- Space heater
- Room air conditioner
Water and energy are more intricately connected than you might think! Water is required for many energy sources, as it is used for things like cooling down electricity-generating turbines. Also, electricity is necessary to move and heat water. This is especially important in Southern California where water is scarce and must be pumped long distances. Addressing this water-energy connection is a critical step to reducing energy consumption!
➜ Click below to see our list of water related energy tips!
1. Replace old, inefficient toilets and faucets with WaterSense labeled models.
The average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent by upgrading to a more efficient toilet—nearly 13,000 gallons of water savings every year! This saves more than $110 per year in water costs, and $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilets.
If every home in the United States replaced existing faucets and aerators with WaterSense labeled models, we could save nearly $1.2 billion in water and energy costs and 64 billion gallons of water across the country annually.
2. If it’s yellow, let it mellow!
All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. Talk to your family/housemates about flushing less often. OR if you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save water by filling your toilet water tank with something that will displace some water, such as a brick or water bottle filled with sand.
3. Take shorter showers & use a shower timer.
An average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes, you can cut your water use by 10 gallons.
4. Use Water-Efficient Shower Head.
Purchase quality, high-efficiency shower fixtures for around $10 to $20 a piece and achieve water savings of 25-60 percent, saving $20 in water bills.
5. Do not let water run unnecessarily.
Letting your faucet run for five minutes while shaving or brushing teeth uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours, and uses up to 8 gallons of water a day. In Claremont, the average household size is 2.56. If every family member can turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing, then they can save up to $52 annually.
6. Upgrade your irrigation controller.
Replacing a standard clock timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually.
7. Think of baths as an occasional treat and stick to showers.
The average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
8. Insulate hot water pipes.
Insulation helps get hot water to the user quicker, reducing the amount of water wasted and decreasing your utility bills.
9. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
Or, better yet, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time!
10. Choose air-dry option on your dishwasher.
The washing time involved with a dishwasher is minimal in cost. The drying time can be expensive at 1500 watts per cycle. Air dry the dishes or dry them by hand.
11. Keep overflow buckets in your showers and sinks.
No matter how careful we are to take short showers and turn the faucet off when brushing our teeth, there’s always going to be gallons of clean (or almost clean) water that pour down the drain everyday. By keeping buckets in your shower and sinks, you can collect water before it goes down the drain and then use it on your garden! I promise the plants won’t mind a little soap (though it’s best to use a natural soap like Dr. Brauners).
12. Create a washing machine grey water system.
It’s easy to re-route the grey water from your clothes washing machine to your garden.
Here are some how-to guides and examples of projects:
13. Eat fewer animal products!
Californians use an average of 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to half of this water is associated with meat and dairy products.
Here’s how much water is used in the lifecycle of the following animal products:
- 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs
- 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese
- 1,000 gallons/liters of water are required to produce 1 gallon/liter of milk.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef
Life has become significantly easier since Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb. However, energy consumption has also grown greatly since his important invention! The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that about 412 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were used in 2014 for lighting both residential and commercial buildings. This was about 11% of all US energy consumption. Luckily, there are several easy ways to reduce the energy consumption of lighting that will contribute to overall energy reductions in your home. Source: EIA.gov
➜ Click below to see our list of lighting tips!
1. Change your light bulbs to LEDs or CFLs!
Many of your light bulbs might still be incandescent bulbs, the same one that Edison invented many years ago. Unfortunately, these use the most energy. By switching your five most used light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescents, you can save about $60 per year on electricity! If every American did this, the country would save about $8 billion per year. And LEDs use even less energy than CFLs!
2. Holiday Lighting
Want to light up your house around the holidays? You don’t have to sacrifice tradition to reduce your consumption! Consider switching to LED light strings. They are safer, as they produce much less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, and can last for more than 40 holiday seasons! Lighting a 6-foot tree for 12 hours each day for 40 days costs about $10 using traditional incandescent bulbs, but only costs $0.27 with LED bulbs.
3. Outdoor lighting
Outdoor lights are often among the most used lighting in a home! Use motion-detected lights for outdoor lighting, they are both convenient and efficient. Also, make sure to change outdoor lights to CFLs or LED lights – safer and more energy efficient alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs.
4. Turn off your lights
When in doubt, always turn them off when you leave a room! Incandescent lights should always be turned off when they aren’t needed because 90% of their energy is given off as heat. Turning off lights saves energy consumption and helps keep rooms cooler. This is an important way to combat the summer heat in Claremont!
5. Take advantage of the California sun
Keep your curtains open during daytime to use natural light rather than bulbs. Also, try to decorate with lighter colors that reflect light! It’s surprising what a major difference these minor steps can make.
6. Learn about watts and lumens
Are there lights in your house that you never turn off? Use the lowest wattage bulbs for lights that are always on like those in stairways! Replacing 75-watt bulbs with 15-watt bulbs reduces energy use by 80%. And if you replace with CFL or LED lights, you can save even more!
Shop for lights based on lumens – the amount of light that a bulb provides! Compare bulbs by lumens not by watts. The higher the lumen count, the more light the bulb gives off. If you’re replacing an inefficient 100W bulb, look for an energy-saving bulb that puts out about 1600 lumens. To replace a 60W equivalent, look for a bulb with about 800 lumens.
7. Take advantage of your lighting
It’s not all about the bulbs! Select light-color shades on lighting fixtures. Place lamps in corners so the light reflects off of two walls! Go move your lamp right now, it’s not hard!
8. Set the mood
Install dimmer switches on your lights! Not only does this allow you to set the mood in a room, but it also can reduce your energy use. Dimming a light by 10% can more than double a bulb’s life.
9. Use the sun to your advantage
Considering installing solar-powered outdoor lighting, especially if you have landscaping lights. Outdoor solar lighting uses solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity stored in batteries for use at night. These lights are easy to install and basically maintenance free!
10. Choose the right fixtures
It’s not just about the bulbs, it’s also important to use efficient lighting fixtures. Consider using ENERGY STAR products that can be used with CFLs or LEDs. Many of these incorporate dimmers, two-way switches, or motion sensors – making energy reduction much easier for you!
Remodeling? Look for recessed light fixtures or “cans”! These are rated for contact with insulation and are airtight meaning there is less energy waste!
Advances in appliances are making it easier than every to reduce your energy consumption! Take advantage of some of the incredible new technology that is available and watch your energy consumption drop. Using energy efficient products is both environmentally and financially sustainable, as it reduces energy use and decreases your bills!
Here are some very helpful sites for energy efficient appliances:
➜ Click below to see our list of appliance tips!
1. Set a programmable thermostat
By offering four pre-programmed settings to regulate your home’s temperature, a programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time. It can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
2. Try heat pumps
The most common air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air, can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%.
3. If available, use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking or warming leftovers
They can save up to 30% of the energy required to cook or reheat food in a regular oven.
4. Choose Energy Star® qualified appliances
If for a period of one year all the appliances bought in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR qualified, it would converse 25 billion gallons of water, and save nearly $580 million in energy costs.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water
Most of the energy used to wash clothes, around 90%, comes from heating the water – only 10 percent goes to electricity used by washer mode. Switching to cold water can save the average household as much as $40 annually.
6. Avoid using the “pre-rinse” on your machine
Rinsing dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water before the dishes are even loaded. Save yourself the rinsing—just scrape food off dishes.
7. Adjusting your thermostat up a few degrees
Turn air conditioners to the highest comfortable setting. A change from 73 degrees to 76 degrees – 24 hours a day – could save you approximately 30 percent on your summer cooling costs.
8. Run the dehumidifier wisely
A dehumidifier running in a damp location that is also open to the outdoors will run continuously, raise your bill and never dry out the damp area.
9. Change your AC filters
A dirty filter blocks the airflow through your AC system, making the equipment work harder. This increases your summer cooling costs and shortens equipment life.
10. Turn off game consoles
Make sure to power off any external electronics used with your video games too.
11. Keep your freezer full
A full freezer uses less energy than an empty one because the frozen food/liquids help maintain the cool temperatures. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
12. Turn off the monitor when your computer is not in use
Over half of the energy used by the computer goes to the monitor, so turning it off will save significantly.
13. Cook with a pressure cooker
Pressure cookers use 50-75 percent less energy than ordinary cookware.
14. Cover your pots on the stove to keep the heat in.
Covering your pot when cooking on an electric cooktop reduces your carbon footprint by about 85 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. year.
15. Keep your refrigerator door closed.
The average fridge is opened 33 times a day — that’s a lot of cool air escaping! Know what you want before you open the door.
Individual and community actions are terrific, and extremely important in influencing your own behavior and the behavior of others! However, political action needs to be taken as well to achieve change in policies and laws across the United States. These changes will guarantee sustainable practices and carbon reduction for generations to come
➜ Click below to see our list of political action tips!
1. Join the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Click here to join the CCL, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization that engages in lobbying, letter-writing, presentations, events, and educational programs to address climate change. As a CCL member, you can write letters to officials, volunteer for CCL events, and be part of a huge network of sustainability advocates around the country that demands and institutes measurable change.
2. Join the League of Conservation Voters.
Click here to join the LCV, a political advocacy group working to educate the public, lobby Congress and the administration, build coalitions, promote grassroots power, and train the next generation of environmental leaders. LCV believes that a pro-environment majority population deserves a pro-environment Congress. Every gift you give will be double or triple matched by LCV’s sponsors, so be sure to donate today!
3. Write to your state assemblyman, state senator, Congressional representative, or U.S. senator.
The job of a politician is to serve the people. It’s our job as citizens to write our Congressmen and women and demand action on climate change!
Assembly Member Chris R. Holden (D-Pasadena) – Click here to contact Representative Holden.
Senator Carol Liu (D-La Canada/Flintridge) – Click here to contact Senator Liu.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) – Click here to contact Senator Feinstein.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) – Click here to contact Senator Boxer.
Representative Judy Chu (D-27) – Click here to contact Representative Chu.