The effects of our impact on the environment have never been as clear as now — plastics churning in the ocean, extreme weather changes, and toxic air quality meaning more yearly air pollution. Now more than ever, the public and businesses are acutely aware of their responsibility to protect the planet for now and future generations.
Photo By: Christine Kimberlee Designs
For homeowners and businesses, it can seem like a lot of extra work to be energy efficient and eco-aware. But as well as keeping you compliant, maintaining a level of environmental awareness can help you save money on utility bills in the long run. You don’t need to spend a lot of money straight away to start being eco-friendlier either. This article will take you through some of the ways you can make your existing appliances and practices greener!
1. No overnight standby
If, like many homes in this day and age, you have a fair number of computers, monitors, television screens or the like, make sure you shut down these devices before leaving your home. Equipment left on standby can use around 50% of the electricity they would use when in operation. If it’s not going to be used for a while, the equipment should be switched off entirely. Neon signs that are popular now as decorative wall art, should be switched off before you go home for the day. This simple tip will save you money on bills, as well as taking a step towards being more environmentally friendly.
2. A matter of degrees
Generally speaking, boilers have a lifespan of around 15 years. If your boiler isn’t quite that old yet, however, there are still steps you can take to making it more energy efficient. If you’re not already in the habit of having the heating turned off when leaving your home, do so. You can always set a timer for the heating to come on an hour or so before you return, so you aren’t walking into a freezing home. Also, try knocking the thermostat down just a degree or two. It’s unlikely to make a huge difference to the comfort of your home, but even just one degree lower can save you money and energy.
3. The office canteen
It’s easy to forget the appliances we have at home need care and maintenance. Just as your car need’s yearly check-ups and oil changes, so does your fridge! A fridge should last for around 10 to 20 years before it needs replacing, but if you reckon your fridge is past its best, be sure to opt for an eco-friendly model; there’s loads of energy-efficient models on the market right now. For now, we’ll focus on your current fridge. When was the last time the coils were cleaned? It’s likely been a while, but according to Architectural Digest, cleaning a fridge’s coils can make for a more energy-efficient machine.
The cleaning process is fairly simple:
- Turn off the fridge
- Put on gloves to protect your hands
- Locate the appliance’s coils (usually, they are at the back, top, or bottom of the fridge)
- Remove the base grill if the coils are on the top or bottom or pull the fridge out carefully to access the coils if they are located at the back
- Take a refrigerator coil brush and clean out the dirt and debris that has accumulated on the coils
- Clean the floor around the appliance before putting it back in place
Also, you have a dishwasher at home? It’s good practice to wait for a full load before setting the dishwasher off, so encourage your family members to stack it to a full load rather than washing in bursts. For the last load of the day, you could leave the door of the dishwasher open to let the dishes air dry overnight instead of using the energy-hungry drying cycling.
4. Office air-con
The air conditioning unit is no doubt a much-loved addition to your home, as it keeps your family living and working at a comfortable temperature. After all, living in a too-warm or too-cold environment can have an effect on your overall mood and progress if you work from home. So, don’t neglect the hard-working appliance — give it a check over every so often to make sure it is running to the best of its ability. Your best bet is to get a professional to inspect your home’s air conditioning units to be sure that everything is running efficiently, as well as confirming that it is still effective. One of the most obvious key signs that it’s time for a check over is if the unit is making strange noises.
Of course, newer models tend to be more energy efficient, but as you can see, your home’s current appliances can still work greener with the proper care and attention. When replacement becomes unavoidable though, take some time to look at the energy-efficiency of models and view it as an investment to saving money and energy in the long run!