October is National Energy Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the goal is to raise consciousness about the impact of excessive energy consumption and to empower people to make a difference by minimizing home energy use.
Many people start the process of becoming more energy-conscious by installing energy efficient appliances in their home. It’s a big investment and an important first step. Worldwide adoption of energy efficient appliances would reduce global energy consumption by more than 10%, save $350 billion in electricity costs, and reduce carbon emissions by 1.25 billion tons per year.
However, the same way that buying a Fitbit won’t cause you to lose weight unless you also make some behavioral changes, installing energy efficient appliances won’t truly reduce your energy use unless you also adjust your habits.
Energy consumption is an international issue, but change starts with individual action. Although many people profess to care about energy consumption, they overlook the significant savings potential of behavioral energy efficiency (your daily energy consumption habits). Widespread behavioral energy efficiency programs could save an additional $3 billion in energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by another 8.9 million tons.
Many people would be surprised by the impact that seemingly innocent habits can have on your household energy use, but making small adjustments to your daily habits can make a real difference on your annual energy costs.
Top 10 Energy Wasting Habits
1. Standing in front of the open fridge.
People spend an average of 10.4 hours a year staring into their fridge. That’s a lot of cool air wasted, wafting over you while you ponder your meal options!
2. Falling asleep in front of the TV.
Not only does falling asleep with the TV on disrupt your sleep, but it costs you an average of $55 a year in wasted energy.
3. Keeping your laptop plugged in all the time.
Hint: The battery is not going to go past 100%, but it will continue to suck up energy.
4. Not programming your programmable thermostat.
Programming your thermostat saves energy by lowering the temperature while you’re out of the house. Not taking advantage of this energy saving option costs you upwards of $180/year!
5. Using your oven on hot days.
Running your oven on a hot day adds heat to your kitchen and makes your air conditioner work overtime to compensate. Find a no-bake recipe to be energy savvy.
6. Leaving fans on in empty rooms.
A ceiling fan doesn’t cool down the air temperature in a room, it just makes a room feel cooler by creating a breeze. If you didn’t realize this, you’re not alone! Many people misunderstand how ceiling fans work.
7. Forgetting to change the air filter.
Your air filter traps dust and other pollutants that will eventually clog the filter. The filthier it becomes, the harder your system has to work to push air through. Maximize furnace efficiency by changing them regularly.
8. Buying incandescent light bulbs.
CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs use 75% less energy and save over $40 in electricity costs over their lifetime—that’s per bulb! CFLs also last 10x longer than fluorescent bulbs, so the switch is well worth the initial investment.
9. Leaving the lights on in empty rooms.
This is a no-brainer. Flipping the lights off takes hardly any effort at all. Make a habit to hit the switch every time you’re the last to leave a room.
10. Letting electronics suck up energy in standby mode.
Electricity consumed by electronic devices in standby mode (known as “vampire power”) can account for up to 10% of total household use. Minimize vampire power waste by unplugging devices not in use, or plugging them into power strips that can be switched off.
Related: Energy Efficiency Checklist: What You Can Do Today, This Week, and This Year