Simple Tips to Go Green, Reduce Energy and Save Money

Earth Day is a great opportunity for each of us to become more environmentally conscious and see how we can conserve energy while saving money.

Whether you’re doing something small like riding your bike to work, or something bigger like installing solar panels on your home, we can all make changes to be more green.

Here’s a few simple ways to reduce energy, save money and help improve the environment.


Appliances and Kitchen

The appliances in our homes make up for about 20% of the household energy bills. One of the best ways we can reduce the emissions and save money is to purchase Energy Star appliances, which are much more energy efficient. However, they can get pretty expensive.

Try these simple, inexpensive fixes instead:

Run your appliances at night: During the evening and off-peak hours is when utility companies charge less for electricity usage. Try running your dishwasher or washing machine at night, when the cost is the lowest

Routinely clean your machines: Small things like cleaning out the dryer lint trap and replacing air conditioning filters keeps your appliances performing at their best. They won’t have to work as hard to produce results which is better for the earth and your wallet.

Use cold water: For washing clothes or rinsing dishes, choose cold water instead. Warm and hot water requires more energy for heating. Each 10-degree reduction can cut the cost of washing clothes by up to 13 percent.

Only run full loads: When possible you should always run your machines at full capacity. Don’t overload them, since this causes them to work harder and defeats the purpose. But washing full loads of dishes or clothes can save up to 3,400 gallons of water annually.

Keep the refrigerator fully stocked: Keeping your refrigerator full helps regulate the temperature better, as you open and close the doors. The fuller it is, the easier the items in the fridge can retain the cold.


Around the House

Some of the basics to help make your home more energy efficient include, blocking drafts, getting better insulation and replacing regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.

Try these other inexpensive fixes.

Use energy saving power outlets: A few months ago I found the Belkin Conserve Smart AV energy saving power strip. With this small change I instantly saved over $76 per year. I also recommend the Belkin Conserve energy saving outlet.

Energy Saving Power Strip

Bring the outside, in: If the weather is nice, take advantage of the outdoors air by opening your windows and doors. Turn off the a/c and just use the fresh air instead. I like to open my patio door and use a small fan to help circulate the air.

Try simple DIY energy saving solutions: I’m not an expert at going green, but there are some simple changes I can make. Like making my own water displacement device for the toilet to save water, or installing a low-flow showerhead.

Eliminate wasted energy: Always remember to turn off appliances and lights that aren’t being used, and unplug cell phone chargers and laptops. During the day, shut the doors to rooms you aren’t living in, and only heat/cool the areas of the home you utilize most.

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What are your tips for going green while saving green?

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Photo Credit: AMagill

About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and editor behind Careful Cents. She helps creative entrepreneurs make a living with their creations, and reach financial freedom through systems and financial organization. She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Kiplinger Finance and several other business websites. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @carefulcents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Modest Money April 20, 2012, 1:58 pm

    All very good tips Carrie.  I’m going to have to look into that energy saving power strip.  With all the stuff plugged into my power strip, it would be nice if it wasn’t constantly flowing electricity to everything currently plugged in.  I do try to keep as much unplugged as possible without making it inconvenient.

    Another tip I’d add in is to first change our clothes before adjusting your A/C or heater.  It’s much cheaper to put on a pair of shorts or throw on a sweater.

  • MyMoneyDesign April 20, 2012, 11:09 pm

    Crap – you just reminded me it was Earth Day this week!   Does it still count if I plant some plants
    in a few weeks?  :)

    I’ve been trying to be better about shutting off the TV when
    no is around or turning off the lights. 
    I’m also trying to teach my kids to pay attention to running water too
    long for brushing their teeth and taking showers.  Every little bit helps!

    • Carrie Smith April 20, 2012, 11:42 pm

      Yes, every little bit does help! That’s why I love using the energy saving power strips, when I turn off the TV it turns off the DVD player/sound system and gaming devices. It’s awesome since I always forget to do it.

  • James April 23, 2012, 6:23 am

    I installed a programmable thermostat.  I set it so the heat shuts off when I leave for work and have it turn on an hour before I come home.  My gas bill has gone down 20% using this strategy.

  • thisthatand themba April 23, 2012, 11:01 pm

     I have the water savers in our shower, we also replaced our toilet to a more efficient one.  All CFL bulbs in the house and we cover the windows in the winter.  With an old house some of these things are done just to keep drafts from coming in.  But we have noticed significant reductions in our heating costs. 

    Just cleaning where the coils are on the fridge and the back where the compressor is will make it run cooler and more efficeint. 

    • Carrie Smith April 24, 2012, 2:42 pm

      I purchased black-out curtains for my apartment just to stop the drafts and air leaks. It definitely helped lower my heating/cooling bills even though that wasn’t my main goal. :)