7 Ways to Reduce Energy Use and Reliance on the Grid

For most of us, living a more sustainable lifestyle is the main reason we became interested in homesteading. While you may have dreams of living off the grid one day, you can reduce your reliance on the grid now by decreasing how much energy your household uses. Check out these 7 Ways to Reduce Energy Use and Reliance on the Grid.

Unplug Stuff

Hopefully, you’re already in the habit of turning off lights and appliances when they’re not in use. If not, that’s your first step. Yet, your appliances and devices don’t stop drawing power when they’re off. Unplugging things is the only way to stop them from pulling power. How much energy you can save depends on what you have plugged in and how old your electronic devices are. (Older devices use more energy in standby mode than newer ones.)

Get Rid of Some Appliances

Starting with rarely used appliances makes this easier. Could you live without the waffle iron, hairdryer, or electric skillet?

Next, you need to find out how much energy the remaining appliances are consuming. Energy monitoring apps like Smappee and Meter Plug can help you find your energy-guzzling appliances.

Getting rid of energy-guzzling appliances is an important move. Unfortunately, energy guzzlers tend to be appliances we rely on for our daily living like the water heater and the refrigerator. Since most of us probably aren’t ready to give up modern conveniences such as hot water and refrigeration, we need alternatives for our energy guzzlers.

Replace Energy Guzzlers

The easiest alternative is to replace your energy guzzlers with the most energy-efficient appliances you can find. Doing that makes an upfront investment necessary, but you should see a return on investment in the form of lower utility bills.

Another option is to invest in appliances that get their power directly from renewable energy sources. Perhaps getting a solar-powered fridge or building a solar-powered oven will begin your journey toward off the grid living.

Make Lifestyle Changes

It’s possible to lower your energy use with lifestyle changes. Hang your laundry to dry on a drying rack or an indoor clothesline. Drop online gaming to spend your free time on hobbies that don’t require energy consumption like reading books, doing crossword puzzles, or going for walks.

Switch to LED Lighting

If you still have incandescent bulbs, it’s time to replace them. LED bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescents. Also, LED bulbs last longer than incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Prevent Heat Loss During Winter

When the temperature starts to drop, it’s a good time to winterize your home. Make sure you have adequate insulation. Seal gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk. Install door sweeps on exterior doors. Keep the chimney flue closed when you’re not using the fireplace.

Consider Alternative Energy

Solar and wind are popular alternatives to getting energy from a utility. The option that makes the most sense for you depends on factors like your climate and budget.

You don’t have to live in sunny Nevada to benefit from solar panels. In fact, Massachusetts and New York are among the leading states for generating solar power. If you looked into solar years ago and decided it was too expensive, you may want to take another look. The cost of solar has been going down over the last few years.

Is your region windy? Then you may be interested in a backyard or rooftop wind turbine. Wind power can be used on-grid or off-grid. The Department of Energy has created a guide to help you determine if wind power is right for you.

The Takeaway

Reducing energy use and reliance on the grid involves creativity and a willingness to do things differently. There’s no reason you have to try all of these tips at the same time. Starting small and taking bigger steps later helps you stick with the changes you’ve made. If you have any ideas to add to these 7 Ways to Reduce Energy Use and Reliance on the Grid please share!

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