Wasting energy is one of the nastiest things we can do in life, to the planet, to our wallets, and even, fundamentally, to each other, which is why we’re delighted that it’s National Cut Your Energy Costs Day on January 10! Paying attention to such an important, yet often overlooked subject, is really key for a host of reasons. Perhaps most crucially, this is one of those things where just a little bit of effort can pay huge dividends, for example in many cases, the savings you can make can be sufficient to pay for an entire vacation.
National Cut Your Energy Costs Day timeline
Worst power blackout in history
The July 2012 blackout in India affected more than 300 million people, beating an earlier blackout in Northern India in 2001, which affected 230 million people.
First nuclear power plant
In Obinsk, Russia, the first nuclear power plant had a net output of five megawatts. President Dwight D. Eisenhower opened the first American power plant four years later.
First electricity in homes
The first electricity in homes was for a few select customers in Manhattan, but obviously, it spread pretty quickly. As a result, “come around and see my light bulb” was only a good chat-up line for about a year.
How to Observe National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
Buy a programmable thermostat
If your heating or air conditioning is on when you don’t need it, that’s the biggest source of wasted energy in American homes, right there. If you own your home, then installing a programmable thermostat should be straightforward but if you’re renting, then you’ll need to talk to the person who rents to you. That’s true of many energy efficiency measures: homeowners are more likely to take them than renters. But that doesn’t mean it’s not in your landlord’s interests, either. Firstly they’re likely to retain tenants longer who are happier with their bills. Secondly they might also share the belief that sustainability is everyone’s job.
Check that your appliances are energy efficient
Most of us balk at buying a new fridge, freezer, dishwasher, or washer-dryer, but the truth is that many older models are so inefficient they might be costing you more in energy bills than it might cost to completely replace them. A little research should show you whether any of your appliances are officially energy hogs, and whether you might be able to save money over the medium term by replacing any of the most egregious offenders.
Check your water use
Wasting water not only raises your water bill, but the energy used to pump the water into your home and then, of course, to heat it, is a major source of energy use. Get an energy-efficient showerhead and turn your water off when you’re brushing your teeth. Check for any leaky faucets or a toilet cistern that fails to shut off.
Why National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is Important
It’s about saving money
Many energy suppliers act as though they have a monopoly in most markets, but the truth is that they don’t. Sure, in your local market, there might be a dominant provider. But if you search their name and “other providers”, they’re actually mandated, in many cases by both state and federal laws, to list alternative energy suppliers on their own websites. That’s because there’s a board game about monopolies, and it doesn’t end well. Do yourself a favor and do the research to save money, plus, stop feeding the people who land on the dark blue squares first. Simply reinsulating your loft can save many homeowners a huge amount, and pay for itself in less than a year if you do the job yourself.
It’s about sustainability
We all know there’s only one planet, and of course it’s important that the major emitters of carbon do their part to reduce emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. But sustainability efforts also begin at home, which means each of us can take responsibility for reducing our own carbon footprints. The average American consumes 6.8 metric tons of oil in carbon emissions each year, more than three times the average person in China. So if every American took the time and energy to do this work, we’d actually make significant advances in reducing global warming.
It’s about checklists
If there’s one thing we really love, it’s a checklist, and National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is a great opportunity to get one together, taking a good look at a whole host of items in your home to ensure that you’re not only getting the best value for money, but also minimizing waste. Remember the satisfaction that’s looming when you check that box! Put it up on a bulletin board and make sure everybody sees it. Go, you. You’re the responsible provider.