Americans spend 11% of their income on utility bills and other household operating costs but by being vigilant and making simple changes around the home, this could be significantly reduced. Swapping your light bulbs for LEDs, installing smart technology and establishing a vegetable garden to grow your own food will not only save you money but will lessen your impact on the environment.
Controlling Your Appliances
A typical household has 40 electrical items on standby at any one time and together, they can consume up to 10% of energy use. Computers and game consoles can be programmed to sleep when idle and some items switch themselves off after an hour but if you find it difficult to get into the habit of unplugging other appliances, timer switches are a convenient way to manage them. In the same way, a programmable thermostat allows you to have more control over when your heating is on and keeps your home at an ambient temperature without wasting energy.
Growing Your Own Food
One third of US greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture, so growing more of your own food not only saves you money but also has less of an impact on the environment. A well-maintained food garden can produce up to 300 pounds of fresh produce worth about $600 annually, more than a tenth of the average grocery bill. Investing space and time on vegetables like potatoes, broccoli and cucumbers will provide valuable returns. However, even growing growing plants like cress, lettuce and herbs in a small windowsill planter can save you money spent on shop bought salads..
Reducing Water Usage
As well as saving energy, taking shorter showers will cut your water bills. Running your washing machine and dishwasher at a lower temperature, and only when they are full, will help too. In the garden, installing a rain barrel can save up to 1300 gallons of water during the summer months. This ensures your vegetable plot will flourish all year round without diverting valuable water away from the environment.
Becoming more aware of energy usage in your home and taking steps to only use what you really need can significantly lessen your household bills. In addition, by being more vigilant, you can reduce your carbon footprint on the environment.