By now, everybody knows the basics of saving money on electricity: turn off the lights when you leave a room (and use LED bulbs), switch to energy efficient appliances, etc. Even after doing all of these things, though, your bills are too high. Surely there has to be something else you can do, right?
Good news! There is! There still a lot of things that you can do that will help you hack away at that bill until it is as close to zero as the municpal utility providers will allow it to be. Here are just a few of them:
Go Straight to the Source
Most of us think that we have to get our power through whatever source everybody else in our neighborhood uses. Sometimes this is true. There are many states that have regulated their energy industries to the point of only allowing single companies to provide power to entire cities or counties.
There are, however, a lot of states that have deregulated their energy industries to allow for companies to compete against each other. In Texas, for example, consumers can choose to have their energy provided by natural gas companies, local companies or companies like Reliant Energy that operate throughout the country. If you live in a deregulated state, do some research. You might find that you can get a much lower rate on your power supply.
Use Green Gadgets
You’ve likely already upgraded your refrigerator to an energy efficient model and switched your stove and oven to natural gas models. That’s great! But what about the other gadgets and appliances you use? Sure, a lot of them, like your juicer, can be switched out for manual models, but there are lots of green versions of common gadgets that can help you save money as well. Bonus points are awarded for gadgets that can be charged up solarly.
Use Your Own Power
There’s an episode of Bones where Booth and Bones meet a guy who powers his blender by riding a bicycle. It seems extreme, sure, but it’s also possible. Hooking your bicycle up to power your blender or other small appliance isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can do it with a few simple tools. The great thing about powering your smaller appliances by riding a bike is that you can get rid of your stationary bike, further reducing your energy bill!
Draft Proof Your House
You would think that something so simple wouldn’t make it into this article. The truth is that there are lots of ways for air to get into your home and mess with the temperature and moisture levels inside. There is more to protecting your home than simply installing weather-stripping. You need to dig around a little bit. Pretend that you’re looking for access points that pests might use and plug them up! If you’re not sure how to do this safely, you can hire a contractor to help you keep your home air tight.
Seriously! One of the best ways to reduce your energy consumption is to simply not use it unless you absolutely have to. Spend time playing outside when it’s warm. Go to indoor gyms and play areas with the kids when it’s cold. You can build outdoor fire pits for entertaining. Dressing up your yard so that it’s a fun place to hang out is a great project for the whole family. After all, isn’t one of the basics of energy conservation to use natural light as much as possible? What better way to use natural light than to go outside?
If you can afford larger projects, one of the best things you can do is install solar panels. The best place to put them is on your roof. You can also install them in columns in your yard. Another great way to reduce your municipal energy consumption is to install a windmill (just make sure you keep it well oiled so it doesn’t drive your neighbors crazy). There are also photophalic windows that absorb solar energy and provide power to your house.
The more ways in which you can replace your municipal power supply, the better for your bills. There are some people who manage to get their homes almost completely off the grid. If you’re really committed to this goal, it might take time, but it is something that you can accomplish!