Whether your main goal is to save money or leave a lighter ecological footprint, making these simple changes at home will tick both boxes. Smugness guaranteed!
1. Install solar garden lights
Not only will choosing solar power save you money on your electricity bill, the process of converting sunlight into electricity produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Solar powered lights for your garden are a particularly convenient option if you need some illumination further from power sockets such as along a garden path, and there are plenty of stylish options available.
2. Keep warm with an electric blanket
If your automatic reaction is to turn on your space heater or air conditioner before heading to bed on a cold night, you’re probably wasting a lot of power and money unnecessarily. Electric blankets generally use very little energy and only need to be turned on 15-20 minutes before you head to bed. What could be cosier than climbing between toasty sheets that will stay warm all night?
3. Use ceiling fans
There are plenty of reasons to love ceiling fans (gentle, sleep-inducing white noise and a tropical holiday vibe are two that come to mind) and saving on electricity bills is a major plus. Keep energy costs down and air circulation up, saving the AC for when it is really needed.
4. Turn off devices at the wall
Unplug all appliances when they’re not in use, from the toaster to the washing machine. Standby mode still uses energy, not to mention the television emits distracting light and low-level radiation that contributes to insomnia. Save money and energy and get a good night’s shut-eye? Yes please!
5. Wash clothes in cold water
As much as 90 per cent of the energy used to do a load of washing is used to heat the water, and in most cases, cold water will suffice. In addition to turning your washing machine dial to the cold option, there are a few other ways you can do your bit in the laundry to go green. Try to hold off until you have a full load, pick a quick wash option and air dry clothes whenever possible.
6. Choose energy-efficient appliances
When the time comes to buy a new appliance or replace an existing one, choosing an appliance that has a – the more stars, the better – can save a substantial amount on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Size also matters, so consider whether you really need the larger fridge, washing machine or microwave.
7. Switch over your light bulbs
Lighting accounts for around 10 per cent of the household power bill, so it’s no surprise that switching to more energy-efficient bulbs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save on power consumption. LED lights are a great option, and while they might be a little more costly initially, they soon make up for it by using around a quarter of the amount of energy used by standard bulbs and can last up to 20 times longer.