10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home
Earth Day is April 22, but caring about the environment doesn't have to be confined to 24 hours, especially because it only takes a little extra effort to be energy conscious every day. Southern California Edison has these tips to help ease into a greener lifestyle and protect Mother Earth.
- Give your oven or stove a break. The next time you’re preparing that home-cooked meal, put some extra thought into the heating process. An electric stove, for example, can use between 1,000 and 3,000 watts of electricity while standard ovens can use between 2,000 and 5,000. Opting for a slow cooker, a smaller oven, a toaster or a microwave could save lots of energy.
- Line drying your clothes may feel like a dated practice, but the old-school tactic could save you money and electricity. There are more than 90 million clothes dryers in the U.S. Experts estimate the nation’s carbon dioxide output would drop 3.3% if everyone hung dried their clothing. If you must use your washer and dryer, wash and dry only full loads and use cold water whenever possible.
- Charging your phone in airplane mode gets the job done quicker and more efficiently. When your phone is slowly charging, it’s quietly working against itself. While constantly searching for a signal and connecting to GPS location services, the battery charges more slowly and uses more power. Other tips include lowering the brightness, turning on low power mode and using the ringer instead of the vibrate feature for notifications.
Smart thermostats allow you to cool or heat your home only when necessary, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and electricity bills.
- Opt for your laptop over your desktop. Laptops use an average of 30 to 70 watts of electricity while desktop computers use an average of 60 to 200 watts. Desktops are locked into a power source while laptops can store the power they need and can then be disconnected. It’s a win-win for energy conservation and optimizing your device’s lifespan.
- Turn off power strips so devices do not consume power when not in use. Phantom load can account for up to 15% of the electricity used by equipment and appliances. The average home has about 40 electronics that slowly drain energy, even when not in use.
- Go paperless. If you already recycle at home, you can take that one step further and switch to paperless correspondence. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also convenient to view your statements and pay your bills online. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 17.2 million tons of paper and paperboard ended up in landfills in 2018. We can make a dent in that waste by not only recycling and avoiding unnecessary printing but opting out of paper bills, too.
- Clear out unnecessary files on your computer. Those emails you keep ignoring are piling high in the cloud, where real-world data storage warehouses are filled with servers running nonstop to store them. 78% of all incoming emails are spam, requiring 33 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and causing 20 million metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year.
Cooking in a smaller electric oven, a toaster or a microwave can result in significant energy savings.
- Use a smart thermostat so you only use your heater or air conditioner when needed. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that on average more than half of a household’s energy consumption is used to cool or heat the home. Smart thermostats have programmable options so you can set them to operate when you’re at home and idle when you’re away. It will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on your utility bill. SCE’s Demand Response programs provide cost-saving incentives to reduce energy use during hot summer months. You may also be eligible for a rebate when you purchase a new smart thermostat.
- Switch out your old incandescent bulbs for LED ones. LED lighting is more energy efficient, has a smaller carbon footprint, requires fewer light fixtures and has a longer life span. Residential LED bulbs — especially ENERGY STAR® rated products — use at least 75% less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Changing the bulbs in your five most frequently used fixtures can save up to $45 a year on energy costs.
- Make the switch to electric vehicles. When it’s time to replace your car, purchasing an EV will help California meet its carbon neutrality goals by 2045. SCE offers several rebate programs that dramatically reduce the costs of operating a pre-owned EV.