For business and home owners, energy use can be a concern from both a fiscal and moral standpoint. High energy use means high electricity bills, which can reduce the spending ability for other activities; by reducing power use, you can save money and reduce your impact on the environment.
Reduce Electricity Use
For an immediate drop in energy use, unplug large appliances, like copiers, when they are not being used. Use a power strip for groups of appliances, so that you can switch the power strip off completely when feasible. You can also find smart power strips that turn off automatically at certain times. Don't leave small items like charging cables plugged in; removing many small items can make a big difference. (See References 1)
Employ temperature management strategies to keep your heating and cooling power use in check. Turn the thermostat down when you are away from the building, during the night or when you are on vacation. Check that you do not have drafts around doors, windows and electrical outlets, and make sure your building insulation is up to code. In the summer, keep the building naturally cool by shutting the curtains during the day and opening them at night; reverse the process in the winter to keep heat in. (See References 1)
To save energy, make sure your equipment and appliances are properly maintained so that they don't waste power. Have your furnace and water heaters checked each year for safety and to make sure everything is operating smoothly. Replace old appliances with newer, energy-efficient models, as older versions can use power inefficiently. The same goes for computers, printers and kitchen appliances. When it is time to upgrade, buy Energy Star certified models. (See References 2)
Many buildings have computer systems that take up power around the clock. To cut your energy use, turn computers and printers off at night and set them to turn off when inactive for more than 30 minutes. Instead of a screen saver, make your screen go dark to save energy. Reduce screen brightness and use the built-in energy saving settings whenever possible. If you have attached printers, fax machines or scanners, make sure they are turned off when not in use. (See References 3)
Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.
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