Reducing your personal energy consumption can lower the cost you pay for electricity and minimize your individual carbon footprint, which is good for the environment. Below are 10 easy steps that can help to reduce your BELCO bill and contribute to creating a healthier climate in Bermuda and beyond:
1. Smart Plugs, Timers & Motion Sensors
Use timers and motion sensors for equipment like water heaters, air conditioning and heating units, and indoor and outdoor lights.
- Water heater smart plugs, apps and timers can save an average of 5% to 12% of energy. Think about it. You only need access to hot water for things like a bath, shower, doing dishes or laundry. So why is your water heater running 24 hours per day? Installing a smart plug or timer that turns the water heater on during just before peak usage times, like in the morning or evening hours, will reduce your use of electricity and stops the water heater from running 24/7. Pro tips:
- Use a smart plug and smart home app that allows you to turn the water heater on/off as you’d like.
- Set a timer to turn on 30 minutes before your usual wake time in the morning, and turn off at the time you leave for work or school.
- Set a timer to turn on 30 minutes before your usual arrival time home in the evening, and turn off at the time you usually finish your evening routine (for example: cooking, bathing, showering, etc.).
- Air conditioning (a/c) and heating units do not need to run consistently throughout the day and night. Setting a timer for the a/c or heat to turn on for specific periods of time when your home is occupied will save money on your electricity bill.
- Motion sensor lights eliminate the need to keep lights turned on for longer than necessary. They can also assist with providing increased security in and around your home, and help to reduce the monthly costs of your BELCO bill.
2. LED Lights
Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs. LED lights are safer and better for the environment, and use 1/3 less energy than traditional light bulbs. LED bulbs can also last for several years, sometimes decades, which significantly reduces the need to change your light bulbs more often.
3. Switch Off
Turning off the lights and television when you leave a room saves energy and money. Creating good energy usage habits for yourself and your family can help cut-down on the amount of electricity used in your home, which can lead to lower electricity bills. Televisions, especially, can use a lot of electricity when left on for long periods of time. Pro tips:
- If you keep your tv on as “background noise” throughout the day, try turning it off and playing music instead.
- If you typically fall asleep at night with the tv on, try setting the sleep timer on the tv so that it turns itself off after a certain time.
4. Temperature Controls
Refrigerators and freezers can use a lot of energy, approximately 2 to 8 kiloWatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day, which could add up to 240 kWhs to your BELCO bill each month. Setting your refrigerator temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezer temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit maintains food-safe temperatures and can save up to 25% more energy than setting them at lower temperatures. Colder temperatures are not always better. Pro tips:
- Whenever possible and if you are purchasing a new refrigerator or freezer, choose Energy Star certified appliances to save on energy usage.
- Try not to pack your refrigerator or freezer too full. Leaving adequate space on the shelves and in the drawers will increase cooling efficiencies and help minimize the amount of energy required to keep the refrigerator and freezer cold.
- Only open the refrigerator or freezer doors when necessary. For example, try to decide what you need from the fridge/freezer before opening the doors to avoid keeping the doors open while pondering what you need.
5. Phantom Currents
Unplug small appliances and electronics when they are not in use so they are not constantly drawing electricity from the receptacles. Electricity usage adds up quickly and it costs money to keep small appliances plugged in all the time, even when they are not in use.
6. Food Prep
Cooking or re-heating food in a small convection oven or toaster can use up to 50% less energy than using larger appliances, like stoves and ovens, to cook or re-heat your food. Pro tips:
- Try planning ahead with weekly meal preparations. When making meals in larger appliances, try cooking or baking multiple items at the same time to reduce the amount of energy that is required to prepare separate meals on an individual basis throughout the week.
- Use pots and pans that are the right size for the meal you are cooking so that you don’t waste energy heating up pots and pans that are too big for the food you are preparing.
- Make cold meals, like a variety of salads and side dishes that do not require the use of appliances to cook. This is especially helpful during the summer months when it’s hot outside.
7. Cold Wash
When doing laundry, try running the washing machine during non-peak times for electricity usage, like early mornings or late nights. Whenever possible, use cold water for washing clothes instead of hot water, which requires more energy. Using cold water to wash can save up to 4 kiloWatts (kWs) per hour for each load of laundry. Pro tips:
- Running the washing machine with full loads of laundry saves energy and water.
- Rub out stains as they occur and pre-soak heavily soiled clothes before washing to reduce the need for hot water and heavy-duty wash cycles.
- Wash clothes on the shortest cycle or “quick wash”, whichever is most practical for your laundry needs.
- Use high spin speeds whenever possible so clothes come out of the washing machine almost dry.
8. Air Dry
Hanging your laundry to dry on a clothesline instead of using a dryer can save between 2 to 6 kiloWatts (kWs) per hour for each load of laundry. This minimizes your use of electricity and can add up to big savings on your BELCO bill each month.
9. Climate Controls
Setting your air conditioner at 78 degrees Fahrenheit can help keep your home at a comfortable temperature while saving energy. Turning your temperature settings back by 7 to 10 degrees from the usual settings for at least 8 hours per day can save up to 10% on your energy usage. Using fans to help circulate air and cool your rooms is also helpful, and can make good “cents” on your monthly BELCO bill.
10. Natural Flows
Open your curtains, blinds and windows for natural lighting and/or to warm up or cool down a room. Using the natural environment to help light a room or influence the temperature inside your home is a long-standing practice that is tried and true.