Save money and help the environment

Kill-a-WattToday is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is the Environment. We figured we would use this as an opportunity to explore a few ways you can reduce your home energy consumption and save money at the same time:

  • The Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor can help you figure out how much energy is being consumed by the appliances and gadgets in your home. The unit’s LCD display indicates the number of killowatt-hours used by anything plugged into it. This information can help you determine whether it makes sense to replace the devices you already own with newer and more energy-efficient versions.
  • Most people don’t realize that some electrical devices draw current even when they are not being used. The Kill-a-Watt will also help you identify what devices you should be unplugging when not in use. When it’s time to replace that aging television, opt for an LCD model over plasma. LCD units consume much less electricity. They also don’t have problems with burn-in, which means they’re also likely to last longer.
  • Most people are already hip to the benefits of compact fluorescent lightbulbs. If you’re not concerned with having a little less illumination, you can go a step further and invest in LED lightbulbs which use far less electricity and last far longer than even compact fluorescent bulbs. Yes, they are expensive, but they will pay for themselves over their 10-year life-span.
  • Clean your refrigerator coils periodically. Doing so can dramatically improve the efficiency of your refrigerator. If you don’t have a suitable vacuum cleaner attachment, you can buy a specialized brush that’s up to the task.
  • Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically change the temperature of your house when nobody is home, which can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Do you have any energy-saving tips? If so, please share them with other readers in the comments section below.

12 Comments for “Save money and help the environment”

  1. posted by Jenny on

    I finally bought a coil brush a year and half ago and cleaned my apt fridge with it. I couldn’t believe all the nasty crap I pulled out — I had to wonder if I was the first person to have ever cleaned it. So, one thing people might want to do, depending on how long it’s been since the coils were last cleaned, is buy an allergy mask. Better safe, and all that.

  2. posted by Trevor on

    There’s nothing else, that one would normally have around the house, that could be used for this task?

    Wouldn’t a specialized brush be the very definition of a “unitasker”?

  3. posted by The Closet Entrepreneur on

    A nice alternative to the Kill-A-Watt is The Energy Detective (TED – or The Power Cost Monitor ( They provide an instant way to monitor the power consumption of your entire home. The nice thing is that you can actually see the power consumption of your AC unit and other high current devices which the Kill-A-Watt is unable to do – of course, they’re a bit more expensive but definitely worth looking into.

  4. posted by Anne on

    What surprised me when I got my Kill-a-watt was: 1.) Halogen lamps use a TON of power! 2.) So does the FRIDGE! I’ve been thinking about the quote that says most fridges end up as storage for the two C’s — Compost and Condiments — and wondering if it’s time to downsize my fridge.

  5. posted by Kristina Richardson on

    Everyone can make a difference! If you are passionate about stopping global warming and the environment you should check out this website . Change to CFLs a great way for individual people to really make a difference! You should also check out this site for more ideas on how to help our world!

  6. posted by Mags on

    Hmmm, where to start? The problem is combining it with uncluttered living…

    1. Shop local. Get yourself some cotton or hessian shopping bags (plus somewhere neat to store them) and walk/cycle to your local greengrocers or farm shop instead of driving to the supermarket to buy vegetables. As well as saving petrol, you also get a lot less packaging wrapped around your food (and thus less thrown away) and – in the UK at least – a lot of locally bought food carries less food miles. If you live in a urban area, you can also find your local deli, fishmongers, butchers, bakers, weekly farmers’ market etc. It takes longer, but you soon build up a routine as well as friendships with your local traders. And you get a workout for free.

    2. If you have a garden (yard to you chaps), invest in a rotary drier to dry clothing. Running a tumble drier eats power, wears out your clothes more quickly, builds up massive lint bunnies and takes up loads of space. See, I found an uncluttering benefit to that one! Sunlight also helps keep whites white, so you can turn down the temperature of the white wash cycle. Admittedly, drying clothes naturally is more of a problem in the winter, but invest in a ceiling mounted rack drier to raise the damp clothing out of the way.

    3. Unplug your chargers. A typical mobile phone charger takes nearly as much energy whilst plugged in but not in use as it does when charging your phone. Multiply that by your Nintendo DS charger, your iPod charger, your laptop, your battery-operated power tools etc. Instead of plugging all the chargers in then leaving them in a charging station which just tidies away the wires, only plug them in when you are going to actually use them. I keep mine in a plastic box under a side table the remaining 98% of the time. Maybe not as convenient, but saves energy.

    4. Switch off the TV, don’t put it on standby. That little red light in the night is energy being burnt up. Is it worth it just so you don’t have to walk over to the set to switch it on?

  7. posted by twosandalz on

    This suggestion is an oldie but a goodie, and appropriate to the season… turn down the heat a few degrees and put on a cozy sweater.

    Here’s another one (which is so hard to do in the Winter)… Turn off the water in the shower while you soap up and shampoo your hair. You’ll save heating costs and water. But brrrrrr!

  8. posted by olivz on

    Here’s one: line dry your clothes. My neighbor does this, and so does my mom. I plan to do so someday…

  9. posted by Who and What They Said on Blog Action Day | Blog Gigs on

    […] Unclutterer – reduce your home energy consumption and save money at the same time: […]

  10. posted by Renee on

    I bought a similar brush at a Linens and Things that serves multiple purposes: it cleans out the lint trap in the dryer, as well as the refrigerator coils. I’ve also found it is good at getting stuff out from under the oven, etc.

  11. posted by Miriam on

    Get a phone with an actual cord. Cordless phones use more energy than I thought they would, yet their batteries always die. We’ve gone back to old, solid Western Electric telephones, and the drastic improvement in sound quality over the expensive, fancy, cordless ones we had was very surprising.

    (Bonus: nicer rings.)
    (Double bonus: the Cylons can’t hack ’em. ;P)

  12. posted by Go Greener, Australia » Blog Archive » Some weekend reading on

    […] Unclutterer mentions the Kill-a-Watt device , something I would really like myself – I’m very curious about which appliances or electrics in our house are chewing up the most energy. […]

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