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5 Cool Strategies to Lower Your Energy Footprint

5 Cool Strategies to Lower Your Energy Footprint

Since the Stone Age, man has depended on various forms of energy to power their day to day activities. Some of this includes simple chores such as cooking, and some includes warming up to sophisticated industrial processes, such as mining and product manufacturing. The main point is, we rely on power derived from electricity, natural gas, wood, and fossil fuels to power most of our important routine activities.

In the modern-day conventional home, systems, installations, and appliances like air conditioners, light bulbs, refrigerators, dishwashers, dry cleaners, electronics, water heaters, and many others require power to run. In the process of energy production for most sources of power, we end up polluting our environment with carbon dioxide emissions.

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One can admit that dealing with the situation requires resources, big minds, and concerted efforts of regions, states, and countries all over the globe. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you can do individually to contribute to the efforts of keeping the negative environmental impacts of energy down, and lower your energy utility bills[1] in the process. So, what is this energy footprint, and what are some of the things you can do to lower it?

What Is Energy Footprint?

The official Global Development Research Center website states an energy footprint is defined as the measure of land that is required to absorb carbon dioxide emissions produced during energy consumption or production.[2] The higher the number, the more negative the situation is. Some of the main approaches of reducing this figure include:

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  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Afforestation
  • More reliance on renewable energy sources, such as the wind, and solar.

So, here are 5 cool strategies to lower your energy footprint you can personally adopt.

1. Home Insulation

Especially for homes and premises where cold climates are imminent, sealing and insulating the home can significantly reduce your energy requirements in terms of heating during the cold season. Adding home attic insulation, and sealing areas that attract potential air leaks[3] can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars every year. Some benefits of home insulation include:

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  • Lowering the air conditioning needs
  • Reducing energy costs
  • Increasing the lifetime of HVAC systems
  • May help reduce HVAC maintenance costs

2. Choose Energy-Efficient Home Appliances, Lighting, and Installations

Whenever buying home appliances such as cookers, dishwashers, heaters, and the like, be sure you pick energy-efficient models. These usually come with an Energy Star label, and are reputed for great power efficiency.[4] They will help you keep your power costs down, and contribute to reducing the energy footprint. As for lighting, LED bulbs are more advisable when it comes to reducing your electricity bill. There are energy-efficient HVAC systems as well.

3. Watch Out For HVAC Systems and How You Use Them

According to a report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), heating and cooling accounted for approximately 48% of residential energy consumption[5] in the U.S. in 2009. Even though it’s no longer the majority, this is still a relatively high number. In addition to insulating your home and choosing energy efficient HVAC systems, you can keep your heating and cooling requirements down by installing a programmable thermostat AC model. Proper maintenance will save you money from having to hire a commercial HVAC company[6] down the line, should neglect rear its ugly head. Also, you don’t need to have the HVAC system on when you’re not at home. How you use your air conditioning system also has an impact.[7]

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4. Go for Cheaper, Renewable Energy Sources

Wind and solar have long been recognized as cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives. To keep your energy footprint down and save on your power bills, consider installing solar panels[8] or invest in a wind energy project, and help save the planet from effects of carbon emissions. Some benefits of renewable energy include:

  • They’re cheaper
  • Little or no CO2 emissions
  • Causing less environmental harm
  • Can provide back-up power when main utility lines experience interruption

5. Plant Some Friendly Trees

According to U.S. News, planting trees can also help reduce your home’s energy costs.[9] This is basically due to the fact that trees provide shade, which helps cool your home during warmer days, thus reducing your air conditioning and cooling system’s usage. Overall, trees are important in reducing the energy footprint long-term.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-easy-hacks-that-could-save-you-energy-and-money-home.html
[2] http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/energy-footprint.html
[3] https://www.ukpower.co.uk/energy-saving-advice
[4] http://www.energystar.gov/
[5] https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=10271&src_Residential_Energy_Consumption_Survey_28RECS%29-f1
[6] http://www.acrepairbatonrouge.org/everything-need-know-commercial-hvac/
[7] https://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/03/7-ways-reduce-electricity-bill/
[8] http://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/
[9] http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/23/10-easy-ways-to-keep-energy-costs-down

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Published on November 11, 2020

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

People love to talk about budgeting, reducing spending. and investing. But unfortunately, talk is cheap, and poor money management is expensive. It’s easy to talk about the best way to save money, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

What people need to talk about is the practical and efficient ways you can quickly save money to accomplish your goals. After all, they don’t teach this stuff in school.

Here are the 10 best ways to save money faster and smarter.

1. Cancel All Your Subscriptions

Yes, all of them.

Okay, you can keep your wifi and trash. But other than that, cancel all your monthly subscriptions for one month. You will survive, I promise. Better yet, you will realize you won’t miss all of them.

Now that you have had 30 days to examine what you really missed and what you never thought twice about, you can add some of them back in. The others? you never have to think about them again.

This is something you can and should do with every part of your life. If it’s clutter, cancel it. Being able to step back and see what is cluttering your life and what is excelling your forward helps improve your quality of life and financial standing.

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2. Automate Savings From Your Paycheck

Many of us are so excited about getting a new job that we rush through the paperwork during the hiring process. Good news for you, I have had lots of jobs so I have seen it a million times.

There is an option for a portion of your paycheck to go directly into a secondary savings account. This is by far the most effective way to save money every month. We tend to spend most of what we have. So, if we take it off the top first, then it’s less likely to be spent. Just head over to HR and ask. It will only take two minutes.

3. Cancel the Happy Hours for the Rest of the Pandemic

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means that there is no better time to buy some drinks from the local store and stop shelling out $5 a drink at the local cocktail bar. When we look back at our bank statements, we are always shocked that fast food and alcohol can add up so quickly. You can easily save a couple of hundred dollars just by taking this step.

A great exercise is to print out your last bank statement and highlight all the areas of alcohol and fast food. The amount may surprise you and make you think twice about that old fashion.

4. Online Grocery Shopping

Some people think online shopping increases the amount they spend. For the most part, I would agree—except for this category.

Online grocery shopping is now a no-brainer, though. Whenever you walk through a grocery store, two things always happen: you always grab impulse items, and you never know the total of your cart until you checkout. This means that we always spend more than we originally planned.

With online shopping, you can see your total as you add items to your cart. You are way less inclined to make those impulse purchases and because of that, I would venture to say that you could even pay to have them delivered to your door and still save money each month by choosing online grocery shopping.

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5. Get a Famzoo Debit Card

This is something my wife and I swear by, and it’s great for the entire family! Famzoo strictly exists to help families and kids budget their money better. Each month, my wife and I have an allotted amount loaded onto our pre-paid Famzoo debit card. This amount has changed every year depending on promotions, kids, stage of life, etc.

The important part is that when you give yourself the freedom to spend a certain amount, you are more likely to only spend the allotted amount. Think of it as a diet. If you are counting calories, you are more likely to stick close to the amount you set. You can also look for some tips online to better stick to your family budget.

6. Purge

This is actually my favorite to do, and it is actually one of the best ways to save money. Raise your hand if you have ever moved. Okay, so everyone.

When we move, we are always amazed at how much junk we have acquired. I have found that about every 6 months, I can find a couple of boxes to sell online of things that we never use. This not only gives you so extra quick cash, but it also keeps your house more tidy and organized.

Now, go clean out that garage!

7. Amazon Subscribe and Save

32! That is how many items I have setup on amazon subscribe and save. Let me explain.

This sounds expensive, I know. But it actually saves us hundreds of dollars per year! We all need toothpaste, shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, toilet paper right? This feature is truly a triple threat. When you have more than 5 items on subscribe and save, you automatically unlock the max savings for every product on your list. This can be up to 20% per item!

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Now, even better is that it ships straight to your door on the exact day you want the item, maybe monthly or maybe you only need it every 4 months. This way, you never have too much or never run out. Either way, it’s totally customizable.

Lastly, there is no contract for any items, which means you can switch brands or items at any given time at no cost. My advice: every single staple item should be on your subscribe and save.

8. Rewards

This may ruffle some feathers, but if you are using your debit card for purchases, you are missing out on free money! We have this notion that credit cards are evil but in reality, they are the same piece of plastic as your debit card.

How you use it can be bad, don’t get me wrong. But if you want my opinion though, ditch the debit card and get a rewards credit card. Use it just like you would your debit card and make sure to pay it off as soon as the statement comes in!

Just to give you an idea of how powerful this can be in terms of money, here are some things that our miles have paid for:

  • 4 nights in Vail with Flight
  • Rental car in Vail (convertible might I add)
  • Flight to Ireland
  • Flight to Hawaii
  • Multiple staycations at very nice Hotels

That’s roughly about 7 thousand dollars in travel expenses so far! Remember that the credit card is just a tool and can be one that benefits you if you use it wisely. Ironically, this can be an effective way to save money.

Pro tip: If you don’t trust yourself carrying around a credit card, then set up all your monthly bills with your credit and leave it in a drawer at home. This way, you rack up miles but don’t get tempted to overspend.

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9. Vacation With Friends

Now, I know travel is hard right now but what a perfect time to go grab an Airbnb in the woods with a couple of friends and detox from the world right now!

Vacationing alone can be pricey and get rather boring quickly, but if you split lodging and set out for a road trip, it can become affordable quickly! For a couple of hundred bucks apiece, you can have one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Don’t forget to pick up your food at the local grocery store to avoid eating out every meal!

10. Make a Budget

When is the last time you updated your budget or made one for that matter? Making a budget is like writing down your goals. If you don’t make a budget, then you will struggle to save.

How can you know if you are spending wisely if you are not tracking everything?

Our advice would be to get a finance app like Mint, Every dollar, or personal capital. All these apps are free and do a tremendous job of tracking spending and budgeting. I still am old-school and have an excel spreadsheet which I do highly recommend.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The entire goal is to boost your bank account while reducing the effort required. Efficiency is the name of the game, and automation is the key player. Luckily, we live in a world that has more perks than we can ever take advantage of. But if I were to choose a few, it would be the ones above.

Taking on all 10 of these steps may seem a little daunting. You can first try to pick three of your favorite and start there. Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore as long. As we use the tools correctly, it can be quite effortless. And now, you have a great blueprint to get started!

More Tips on Saving Money

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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