“Turn off the light when you leave the room,” is something many of us teach our kids. Mom and dad wanted to save energy and money on the electric bill. Our children even remind each other now.

A dark bedroom when children are elsewhere is practical advice. The practice is one of many simple, quick measures to promote energy efficiency at home. Time spent is balanced with energy savings. Are a few seconds worth pennies now and dollars long term? I would say yes, especially when less energy use means potentially less overall demand. Less demand equals not as much electricity generated and less pollution. We as individuals can also conserve resources by cutting down on water and natural gas.

Being an energy saver has three main components: One, recognizing the need for saving energy, realistically setting goals for our own impact, and being willing to make a change.

Everyone seems to have a busy schedule. How does home energy conservation fit in? Individuals and families may be able to pick up positive habits and be rewarded by lower energy bills. Make a chart for children with stickers awarded for being “green.” Helping with chores is one way, such as hanging laundry out to dry. Or maybe short showers instead of full bathtubs.

Lists and reminders are easy to keep with smartphones. Don’t know when the furnace filter needs changed? Then have your phone tell you.

Investing money up front also helps with more efficient appliances and equipment.

Each type of utility - electricity, gas, water - can be examined. Or take a look at energy use in different parts of the home.

Electricity is the easiest place to start. In the daytime use natural light whenever possible. At night, switch out old bulbs for efficient LEDs. Most of an incandescent bulb’s energy is given off as heat.

Slow is the way to go. A slow cooker only takes about as much energy as a light bulb. Delicious meals may be made while at work and save time in preparation for supper when you come home.

Though a slow cooker could be plugged in anywhere, look to the kitchen to save electricity. Heat up meals in the microwave rather than the oven. It is more efficient for the heat generated. However, defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight to cut down on cooking time the next day. A full fridge and freezer are more efficient as well, and go by the recommended settings. On the range, a convection oven requires less heat than a traditional model. The oven can also be turned off a bit early and food will still finish cooking. Match pans to the right burner size to avoid too much heat. Glass dishes will retain heat in the oven better than metal. Air dry dishes in the dishwasher rather than the heat dry cycle.

Thermostats can be programmed to adjust the temperature to the daily schedule.

When in doubt unplug or turn off powerstrips when not in use.

There a countless energy savings tips online. Find what fits the best for your household.

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