You’re probably familiar with energy-efficient products—many of your home’s appliances almost certainly have the ENERGY STAR® label—and you may have even started researching energy conservation practices. Whether you invest in more energy-efficient products or try to be more mindful about the ways you use the appliances you already own, it’s a great way to reduce your energy consumption at home. Combining the two is an even better idea that can really help you save money in the long term. Who doesn’t want lower monthly energy bills?
It is important to note that, while these two terms are very similar and are centered around achieving the same goal, they don’t mean exactly the same thing. Let’s take a quick look at how energy efficiency differs from (and can complement) energy conservation.
What Is Energy Efficiency?
Whenever an energy-efficient product is being designed, it will be an effort to meet at least one of two goals: to either complete the same tasks as a similar product while using less energy, or to improve the overall efficiency of the area in which it’s located.
Here’s an example of each:
- Compared to a traditional incandescent light bulb, LED light bulbs can provide the same amount of illumination (if not more) while using far less energy.
- Adding insulation to your windows, doors, and attic or covering your home’s exterior with insulated siding can improve energy efficiency by reducing thermal transfer, which keeps temperatures more consistent indoors. This leads to lower energy usage in the process, as you aren’t overworking your HVAC system.
What Is Energy Conservation?
Do you make it a point to turn off your lights when you’re not using them? Have you set a schedule for your thermostat? If so, you’re already practicing energy conservation! The nice thing about this technique is that anyone can do it on their own terms. Want to start small with the aforementioned actions and work your way up? Go for it. Want to completely change your energy usage habits overnight? You’ll have plenty to work with in your home.
More examples of energy conservation techniques include:
- Unplugging appliances when not in use – Did you know that some of your electronics and other appliances continue to draw power even when they’re turned off? Luckily, this problem has a simple solution: Pull the plug!
- Using more natural light – The sun can light up your home as well as any bulbs can, but with the benefit of no added cost to you.
- Reducing your hot water usage – This isn’t to suggest giving up hot water entirely, as cold showers and ice baths aren’t for everyone. But limiting your time taking showers, taking hot baths less frequently, and even doing more laundry with cold water can make a difference, as water heaters consume a lot of energy.
How Do I Benefit From Consuming Less Energy?
In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you can save a lot of money! According to the United States Department of Energy, the typical American household spends about $1,900 annually on energy bills, but could recoup at least 24% of that total ($450 or more) by switching to ENERGY STAR-certified products. Just keep in mind that you may be playing the long game in many cases—some energy-efficient products cost more up front to buy than less-efficient products, but they will obviously yield savings over time and eventually pay for themselves. Speaking of which, you can also check for rebates and offers that you may be eligible for when you purchase ENERGY STAR-certified products.
If you’d like to take action at your Arizona home, FOR Energy is ready to help. We offer home energy audits to help you find exactly where your home loses the most energy, and we’ll provide you with insight on how to correct that. We can also make your switch to solar power a cinch. What’s more, we can create a custom energy savings plan to help you get the most out of your energy-efficient products and energy conservation practices. Contact us today to learn more about our services and set up a consultation.