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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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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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