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Energy Conservation: Tips for Saving Money on Your Utilities

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Ah, winter. It’s all snow and cozy and hot tea, until you get the monthly energy bill. You spent HOW MUCH on electricity?? (This is where you off-grid folks can fold your arms across your chest and smile smugly…) Energy conservation is where it’s at when we’re talking about cutting costs!

For many, heating is a huge expense during the winter months.

For me, it’s not heat—we don’t actually have a heater; when our temp hits 55 degrees, our only option is more blankets—but our bill is rising nonetheless.

So, we’re working to depend less on the electric company. The less energy we use, the less we pay for.

clear lightbulb lying on green grass - energy conservation

Household energy conservation

You know how when the power goes out your house gets really quiet? That’s the sound of 100% energy conservation.

Sure, it’s inconvenient, but when the power is out, you’re not paying for it.

close up of wood fire with flames - energy conservation

Stay warm for less

If your electric bill reflects the need for heat this time of year, consider these easy to implement energy conservation tactics – no home renovation required.

  • Turn down your thermostat. Even one degree will make a difference.
  • If you’ve got a drafty door or window, roll up a towel and use it to block the cold air.
  • If you’ve got rooms that aren’t really in use, close the heating vents to the rooms and close the doors. No sense heating unused space.
  • Got sunshine? Open the blinds to let in the warmth.
  • If you use your dishwasher, open the door slightly to allow the remaining heat to warm the kitchen when the cycle is complete.
  • If you froze some of your garden’s bounty this summer, now is a good time to consider transforming those berries or peaches into jam or jelly or fruit butter. Processing the jars in the canner will free up freezer space and warm up the house.
  • Place several fire bricks inside your oven. When you cook, the bricks will absorb the heat. You only need to leave the oven door ajar to release that heat into your house (use caution with this plan if you have children). No fire bricks? Pop your pizza stone in there.
Light colored laundry hanging on a line with birch trees in the background

Energy conservation in the laundry room

  • Install a simple timer on your water heater so that it’s only running when you actually need hot water. No sense heating it all day while you’re at work or in the middle of the night.
  • Only wash full laundry loads.
  • Use cold water for laundry loads when you can.
  • Dry clothes on a line if weather allows. Or get an indoor drying rack.

Saving energy in the kitchen

  • Turn off the “heated dry” setting of your dishwasher. When the cycle is done, open the door and allow the steam to escape so the dishes can air dry.
  • When you have the oven on, use it to full capacity. If you know you’ll be baking a casserole, think about pulling together a batch of granola or baking a loaf of bread.
  • Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator so it doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain its temperature.
  • Build a rocket stove for a fun way to cook outdoors.
clear lightbulb lying on green grass, top & light colored laundry hanging on a line, bottom - energy conservation

Other ways to reduce your energy bill

  • Be aware of vampire power; appliances that remain on standby with a little power light are using energy.
  • Set your computer to “sleep” mode when you’re not actively using it.
  • If you tend to keep the TV on just for background noise, try to break that habit.
  • It goes without saying, but turn your lights off when you’re not in the room. And have you made the switch to LED lights?
  • Take shorter showers.

This is an incomplete list, for sure. I’d love to hear your suggestions for saving energy!

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

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