Energy-Saving Tips for the Entire Year

In Alberta, many people think about conserving energy during the winter because that's when the temperature drops and energy consumption rises. However, you should strive for energy efficiency all year long. Being energy efficient includes using less energy, but you also need to be aware of where it is wasted and how it can be used more efficiently in everyday life. Here are some energy-saving tips, broken down into four categories, to help your home or business become more energy efficient.

Your Kitchen

Your kitchen uses an enormous amount of energy, because you cook, clean, store food, and wash dishes there. On the bright side, this is a room where you can find countless energy-saving ideas. Consider the following:

Your Oven/Stove/Range

  • According to GE Appliances, when cooking on a gas stove, make sure that the flame heats only the bottom of the pot. It's not only dangerous for the flame to reach up the side of the pot, but it's also a waste of energy.
  • Next time you're thinking of frying some eggs, reach for the electric frying pan rather than using the stove. An electric frying pan uses less electricity than a conventional stovetop to cook the same amount of food, according to Fine Cooking.
  • Did you know that cooking on a barbeque will save energy during hot weather compared to indoor conventional cooking? This is because indoor cooking heats up the air in your home and potentially increases your air conditioning needs.
  • Believe it or not, pre-heating your oven really isn't always necessary. Pre-heated ovens are required mostly for baking bread and pastry. It's not always required for other foods.
  • Make sure lids fit tightly on pots and keep lids on when cooking to prevent heat from escaping. You'll save more energy and your food will also cook more quickly and evenly.
  • Don't forget to turn off the stove 2-3 minutes before the end of the proper cooking time. The element will stay hot while the food continues to cook.
  • When using the oven, turn on the oven light to check food and keep the door closed.

Your Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Make the most of your freezer. Match the size of your freezer with your needs. If you can get by with just your fridge freezer, unplug your deep freezer and save energy.
  • If you overfill your refrigerator it will use up more energy than if you overfilled your freezer. However, neither an over-stuffed or empty refrigerator is energy efficient, says Terri Williams at Hunker. Too many items in the fridge can block air vents, causing the motor to run harder to keep food cold. A well-stocked (not stuffed or nearly empty) refrigerator will allow food to absorb the cold air, allowing food items in close proximity to remain cold as well.
  • Before you put leftovers in the fridge, you might want to let hot food cool first. In doing so, you'll prevent your refrigerator from working extra hard to cool the food and using valuable electricity.

Dishwasher and Other Appliances

  • Regularly clean the filter at the bottom of your dishwasher to keep the machine running efficiently.
  • Good news! Rinsing your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher may not be necessary. Some people rinse their dishes in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher. You'll save more water and energy by scraping all excess food off plates and cutlery. Your dishwasher will do the rest.
  • When boiling water, consider using an electric kettle rather than the stove. Heating up water on the stove is less efficient than an electric kettle, says Rebecca Jacobson at Inside Energy.
  • According to manualcoffeebrewing.com, if you regularly clean your electric kettle with boiling water and vinegar, you'll remove the mineral deposits inside and make it more energy-efficient.
  • Consider using small appliances such as microwaves or toaster ovens to cook or re-heat foods.

Your Laundry Room

Your laundry room is another area in your home that consumes a lot of energy.  These energy-saving tips for laundry may lower your overall energy use.  Some ideas to consider include:

  • When using your clothes dryer, dry only full loads to reduce your energy usage. Clothes of similar weight should also be dried together.
  • When purchasing your next clothes dryer, buy one with a sensor that will turn off the machine automatically when the clothes are dry. This will help save energy.
  • Don't forget – it's important to dry loads consecutively so that you can take advantage of the heat already in the dryer.
  • If you have a load of clothes that are extra dirty, use your washing machine's pre-soak cycle instead of washing your clothes twice.
  • Did you know that studies have shown that clothes rinsed in cold water come out just as clean as those rinsed in warm water? Rinse in cold water and you'll reduce energy consumption.
  • After drying each load of laundry, be sure to clean the lint screen. Not only does a clogged filter increase your energy use, but it can also be a fire hazard.

Your Home and Office Workspaces

Energy-saving ideas are not only worthwhile for consideration in the home, but also for the workplace. With so many people working either at home or at an office, it’s important to know how to maximize your energy conservation.

  • Don't forget to pull the plug and save. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient.
  • Did you know that starting-up and shutting-down your computer does not use any extra energy? In fact, shutting down your computer when you are finished actually reduces the wear and saves energy.
  • If your computer must be left on, make sure you turn off the monitor.  Anything not powered on may use less energy.
  • Don't forget to use power bars for your home entertainment system or home office. Just remember to turn off the power bar when you're not using it.  This will prevent you from wasting electricity.
  • Make sure you set all your office equipment to the energy-saving mode, if possible. This will enable your equipment to "go to sleep" when you're not using it.
  • Have you ever thought of installing smart power strips on your office or home equipment? According to Home Selfe, these strips can measure a device’s power level and detect when it is in standby mode. Some strips use motion detectors to put devices in standby mode when there is no activity. In addition a power strip will also turn on or off the plugged equipment depending on the circumstances. This in turn could help reduce your electricity usage.
  • San Stone at Chron says a laptop uses less energy than a standard computer. Maybe it's time to make the switch.
  • Choose the smallest computer monitor that will meet your needs. The bigger the monitor, the more energy it uses.

Your Lighting

Lights are on in our homes and offices every day.  While lights and lightbulbs have become more energy-efficient in recent years, they still consume electricity and should be managed.  Think about the following energy-saving tips when it comes to the lighting in your home and office, as they could make a big difference.

  • Contrary to popular belief, less energy is consumed when lights are turned off and on when needed, as opposed to being left on.
  • The location of your lamps or TV sets may have an impact on your energy bills. For example, according to ENERGY STAR®, you should avoid placing these appliances near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat can sense heat, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • When you're looking for new lamps, consider purchasing three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
  • Have you thought about dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts for your new light fixtures? These fixtures use pin-based replacement bulbs, which are more energy-efficient than conventional bulbs.

Final Considerations

Here are some other energy-saving tips and ideas to consider:

  • Have you ever thought of having an energy audit conducted in your home or office? It may be one of the best investments you make.
  • When purchasing appliances, use the EnerGuide label to compare the performance of equipment to help you make the most energy-efficient choice.

Every home could likely use some help with energy-saving strategies.  This is something that we should all strive for daily, as the more energy we save collectively, the better off all of us will be.  Help reduce energy consumption by implementing some of these tips into your everyday life.  If you’d like to learn more, feel free to call Direct Energy at 1.866.374.6299 or contact us anytime online

Note: These tips are suggested as general practices. However, actual results may vary.