Why should we not waste electricity? It’s more than saving money


Saving energy is a priority in many governs propaganda, but do we need to start worrying about saving energy? Why should we save energy? I have done some research and what I found may surprise you as surprised me.

It will cost you money, only by switching to LED bulbs you will save 1/3rd of what incandescent bulbs cost yearly. Producing electricity leads to the formation of harmful gasses and consumes natural resources. Producing electricity is a process that is not very efficient, lots of energy is wasted.

This is just the beginning, I will share with you what I’ve found: since the production of electricity until you turn on the lights.

How to save energy?

Change the light bulbs to LED

Changing the incandescent light bulbs to LED is enough to save up to 30% on your energy bill, in the first month you will notice immediately the reduced bill and one year is enough to recover your initial investment after that is profit.

LED is also getting cheaper and available everywhere. With one hour of work, you can change all the lights in your house or do like me, I bought in bulk and when the incandescent bulbs failed, I swapped for new ones in LED. With this trick, you don’t need to spend so much money initially.

Nowadays the price of LED light bulbs is low enough to buy in bulk and change all the house’s lights in one day. You have more options also, you have smart bulbs that are controlled by your smartphone.

Turn off what you don’t need

That means all the phone chargers, set up boxes, TVs, everything that is on standby is wasting energy and costing you money every month. You can install smart power outlets with timers who helps a lot to save energy.

Even if your phone isn’t charging, the charger is consuming energy

I have those in my bedroom and kitchen with a TV and its stuff connected to that power outlet, I’m at work between 8 AM and 6 PM usually so between those hours all I don’t need it turned off automatically. There are some fancy ones that you can control remotely with your smartphone but that requires you to have your router and modem on all the time.

Invest in insulation

The cold outside enters your house through your windows. Inefficient windows allow the cold to enter in Winter and the heat in Summer. That said, the temperature is outside, is inside your house if you don’t have your house properly insulated.

Having a house that has good insulation will save you money in the future on energy bills, you will spend way less energy heating or cooling your house.

When buying new appliances look at their power consumption

When you need a new fridge or a microwave oven, take a moment to look at their power consumption, usually more watts equals more power needed. But don’t buy an oven or a toaster with low wattage that will take forever to heat your food.

Sometimes even if an oven spends more energy than another one, that doesn’t make it less power efficient. In the European Union, electronics are required by law to have a label stating the power efficiency of that product.

Lots of energy wasted in production

In the USA according to Energy Information Administration, only 11% of energy consumptions come from renewable energy, natural gas, coal, and petroleum produce almost 70% of all energy. These energy sources are really pollutants, their consumption produces CO2 and other gasses that are prejudicial to health and the atmosphere.

Source: EIA

Even the most efficient coal-fired power plants are only able to get 44% efficiency, that means that 56% of the energy is wasted in heat. It is also important to mention that this is a very pollutant energy source and most of the power plants today are really old and don’t have newer systems to capture and retain the pollutants that are affecting the environment and messing with people’s health.

Only 11% of total energy was produced by renewable sources, but this number is getting bigger, fortunately. Solar and wind power are getting traction and are more and more families are using solar panels to produce their own energy. That’s great news!

Solar power is getting cheaper

Solar panels are getting pretty cheap when comparing to just 10 years ago, their price was reduced by 82% since 2010. That’s a huge discount in such a small timeframe. As always, this price differs from state to state as you can see on the image below the average cost per state.

Source: EnergySage

Solar panels are getting cheaper and some states are giving some help and tax breaks to whoever invests in renewable energy. So be sure you check your local authorities before buying a solar panel for your house. Maybe you can find a great deal or any tax break.

In Europe the scenario is about the same, there are lots of tax benefits, the solar panels are also getting cheap in European Union, and thanks to Schengen Space, you can order from other countries in the same area for even less money than your home country for example.

At Home

As you could see in the image above, the price of solar panels depends on the state you’re living. You can have an estimated guess by watching your electric bill and take note of your energy needs.

If you consume on average 5kW a month, make room for the months you need more energy or any life event that can change your energy needs, I would go to at least a 6kW system.

Assuming I lived in Florida, a solar panel system for my house would cost at least $16,200 (6000W x $2.70).

This is a solution to be completely grid-free, most people buy a cheaper system that powers few things, and the rest is powered by the grid, it’s a great way to save some money on bills.

You could choose a 3kW system and spend half the price, $8,100 and the rest of your energetic needs relies on the grid. This system is also great when the grid has power shortages and you can keep your fridges on solar so your food won’t spoil or if you’re located remote and you need the energy to water pumps to water your crops, solar is a great alternative to fuel generators.

Getting off-grid

Solar panels are a great way of getting energy when off-grid. With less than $2,000 or 2000€ you can have a full solar system for your cabin, van, boat, RV, you name it!

A 300W solar panel costs about $200 but to be comfortable you’ll need at least two solar panels to power your fridge, lighting, computers, chargers and other gear you may need.

There are lots of offers on the market, you can also buy online and set up the system by yourself, a thing that I don’t recommend to do if you are a beginner. Even on a shoestring budget, safety is a priority and a bad electric installation can damage your electronic gear or even lead to a fire hazard and provoke serious damages to others.

So if you don’t have the knowledge to do an electric installation, the best thing to do is to contract someone certified to do the installation as it should be made.

If you know what you are doing, please go ahead and save money by doing the installation by yourself. Doing it correctly will take up some time, on a van, I’ve found online installations that took weeks to do. So make sure you take your time to do the installation the right way.

Conclusion

As renewable energy is getting cheaper and the governments are helping with the purchases, today is a great time to invest in renewable energy, save money in the long run and spare the environment.

Solar power is more accessible than ever before. And that is great news!

OnePlanetSaver

Hi, I'm Sérgio and I'm passionate about saving the environment reducing my carbon footprint and making better choices. Here I will share some tips that I'm learning on my journey of having a way of live that is more sustainable.

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