Project Envolve™ is a program sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities with the mission of helping us all save more and use less electricity. I am a Project Envolve Ambassador and have been provided with complimentary products and/or payment in exchange for sharing these ideas and my own use of them with you. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
As a Project Envolve Ambassador I’ve shared tons of energy efficient tips with you over the past couple of years. I’ve learned so much through this project that has honestly helped me cut my electric bill and live a greener life. But you know me. I’m all about practicality.
Practical Energy Efficient Tips (That I Actually Use)
So as the second phase of this project wraps up, I’m sharing the things I REALLY do on a regular basis. These are easy, inexpensive, and legitimately cut my utility bills. Consider it my greatest hits of energy efficiency! See which ones appeal to you and give them a whirl this summer. You might not be so scared of your next electric bill!
1. Grill, Baby, Grill
Grilling uses less energy than other cooking methods, like the stove or oven. Those appliances not only use more energy to cook your food, but they can heat up your whole house and who wants that in the summertime? We actually grill year-round. I’m not afraid to send my husband out into the snow for some BBQ chicken, friends.
I do my best to get the entire meal on the grill because no dishes sounds pretty amazing to me as often as possible. Not a grill fan? I don’t know if we can be friends. I kid, I kid. Use your slow cooker or other small appliance like a toaster oven. They suck less juice than your oven, too. You can find some of my favorite grilling recipes here!
2. Close the Blinds, Open the Blinds
Use the sun to your advantage. In the wintertime, open your blinds and let that light shine in and warm your house. In the summertime, close them up and keep the heat out. The way our house is positioned I keep my blinds closed in the living room all morning to keep the sun from beating in, and then open them up in the afternoon when the sun has moved and I can use the natural light to avoid turning on lights inside. Win-win!
3. Fan Girl
One of the tips that has really stuck with me from my work on Project Envolve is that ‘fans cool people, not rooms.’ So if you are in a room, use a fan! It will keep you cool and uses a lot less electriity than the air conditioning. But turn it off when you leave the room. It won’t change the room temp. This is our favorite portable fan. I actually just loaned it to my son’s first grade classroom because it’s like a sauna in there.
And if you have a ceiling fan, remember that in the summertime you want the blades spinning counter-clockwise to draw air upward to cool the room.
4. Air Traffic Control
Our vents are right against the wall (which I’m sure is the case in pretty much every home) so the cold air doesn’t always point INTO the room, but up the wall or behind a curtain. These vent deflectors are under $4 each and have made a huge difference in our bedrooms. They direct the cold air into the room where you can really feel the AC.
These are the kind of little tips I love! How easy is this one?
Appliance suck energy even when they’re not in use. I really didn’t realize this, but it’s true. So even though you’re TV is off right now, it’s using electricity. Unplug what you can when it’s not in use. I use my toaster and Keurig every morning and then pull the plugs for the rest of the day.
Think about what you’re not using on a regular basis and make sure you don’t just have random things plugged in. And definitely do a sweep before you leave for vacation to unplug what you can.
6. Put A Filter On It
My husband is in charge of this one, changing the air filter in the furnace regularly. We do it every 3 months and he has a chart taped to the furnace so he can always see when it’s due to be changed.
Keeping a clean filter in there not only keeps your heat and AC running efficiently, but it can cut down on allergens which is MUCH needed in this house.
7. Get Creative With Your Family Fun
My kids get enough screen time (let’s be honest – most kids do) so when we spend time together as a family we unplug as much as possible. Our favorite family activities require no electricity. Board games, kicking a soccer ball, walking the dog, hitting the beach, a bike ride, s’mores over a firepit, etc. There are tons of things to do with the kids without electronics!
Here’s how we planned an electricity-free evening with our kids that was TONS of fun!
Some of my other favorite tips:
- Landscaping can provide insulation from both heat and cold. You can find some great resources on that here.
- Speaking of being outside, use solar lights to light your deck or patio. They’re virtually maintenance free and SO classy looking!
- Use LED lights when decorating for the holidays. They last longer and are less expensive, plus they use less electricity.
- Air seal your house. Use caulk and weather stripping where needed to seal leaks. This keeps cold air out in the winter, and warm air out in the summer!
- Find a lot more tips on the PPL Electric Utilities Pinterest boards!
What would you add to my greatest hits list of energy efficient tips?
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