Reducing your carbon footprint takes less energy than you might think. So, before you start feeling burned out by just looking at the eco-friendly tasks on your to-do list, read on for some simple, awesome ways to power your life more sustainably. Why now? Because October 4 marks Energy Efficiency Day, now in its seventh year. A collaboration between advocates, agencies, companies and utilities across the U.S., the group’s message spotlights how reducing energy usage benefits all of us: “Save money. Cut pollution. Create jobs.”
With a stated goal to “share tips, tools and stories that promote the multiple benefits of energy efficiency,” they also encourage people to share their own energy efficiency success stories by using the hashtag #EEDay2023 . So now that you know it’s Energy Efficiency Day, consider some clever ideas to embrace energy efficiency in your life. Hopefully it inspires a few lightbulbs to go off — both literally and figuratively.
What is Energy Efficiency Day and why does it matter?
Energy Efficiency Day serves as a call to action and a gentle reminder that the choices we make when consuming energy influences not just environmental health but our own well-being. Often abbreviated as EEDay, it was first launched in 2016 as a way to highlight the ways embracing an energy efficient lifestyle can create a positive impact. Among them:
It’s good for the environment
Energy efficiency is the linchpin of sustainable living. It’s a tangible way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and protect our fragile ecosystems. When we use energy more responsibly, we reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which are a primary source of carbon emissions.
There are economic benefits
Energy efficiency isn't just about saving the planet — it’s about saving money too. By employing smarter technologies and practices, individuals and businesses can cut both their utility bills and operational costs.
It’s a healthier way to live
Think of living a more sustainable life as an upgrade instead of a sacrifice. Well-insulated homes are cozier, energy-efficient appliances are more reliable, and smart thermostats offer customized comfort. Plus, reducing waste can enhance indoor air quality, promoting better health for occupants.
The sector creates jobs
The pursuit of energy efficiency generates jobs and boosts local economies. From energy auditors to solar panel installers, this eco-friendly sector is a driving force in the green job market. EEDay estimates companies embracing and supporting energy efficiency currently supports more than two million jobs nationwide in construction and other fields.
How you can embrace Energy Efficiency Day
From how to landscape to how to power down properly, there are numerous ways — both simple and work-intensive — to reduce your energy consumption in favor of a greener, more efficient lifestyle. Here are nine of them:
Opt for LED lights
Shed light on energy savings by switching to LED bulbs. These marvels of modern lighting are not only energy-efficient but also long-lasting. Over time, you’ll notice a significant reduction in your electricity bill. Help the planet while also helping out your savings!
Conduct a home energy audit
At last — one audit that won’t be painful. Invite the experts to your home. A professional energy audit can pinpoint areas where your home may be losing energy. This could be anything from gaps in your window trims to so-called phantom energy waste. By consulting a professional, you can take targeted steps to seal leaks, insulate, and optimize your home’s energy performance.
Choose efficient appliances
Soggy food in the not-so-icy freezer of your dying refrigerator? Does your washing machine’s spin cycle seem more like a slow roll? It’s probably time to swap out those old appliances for new models. When you do, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These appliances meet strict energy efficiency guidelines, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint. You can also invest in a home energy monitoring system to track your consumption. Knowing how much energy you’re really using may inspire new power-and-money-saving habits.
And if it’s a new washer you’re investing in, why not also take the time to rethink how you’re cleaning your clothes? SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets offer a plant-based, hypoallergenic alternative to traditional detergents. Just rip a strip (two strips to a sheet), toss it in where liquid chemicals used to go, and add your clothes. Not a spill in sight.
Seal the gaps
Has your home sprung a leak? You may be surprised at just how much energy is escaping through simple-to-correct areas. To prevent this, seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather stripping or caulk to keep heat or cool air from seeping outside. And don’t forget to insulate your attic and basement for year-round energy savings.
Unplug and power down
This is one of the easiest ways to be more energy efficient in your daily life. Phantom energy, the power consumed by devices in standby mode, can add up. Unplug chargers, turn off lights, and invest in power strips that cut off energy flow to multiple devices when not in use.
Consider efficient landscaping
It’s not just changes indoors that can help boost your energy efficiency. Try planting trees strategically around your home to provide natural shade and reduce the need for air conditioning. Additionally, consider xeriscaping with native plants that require less water.
Invest in solar power
If possible, explore the benefits of solar panels. Solar energy not only reduces your reliance on fossil fuels but can also generate energy credits, lowering your utility bills. Read all about how to harness the sun for sustainable living!
Explore water efficiency
Energy isn’t the only resource to conserve at home. By fixing leaks promptly and installing low-flow faucets and shower heads, you can save on water costs. You may also consider a high-efficiency water heater to reduce your usage.
Be an energy efficiency advocate
Share your knowledge about energy efficiency with friends and family! Take it a step further by advocating for energy-efficient policies in your community and supporting initiatives that promote sustainability. While making changes in your own home should be applauded, progress also takes public action. The more people you can inspire to be energy efficient, the better.
Energy Efficiency Day is a chance for businesses, communities, governments, and individuals to all contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet. By putting into practice even a few of the ideas listed here, you’ll not only unlock savings, but help move the world away from its dependence on fossil fuels. Remember, even a small spark can create lasting change.