About two months ago I decided to see if I could get my electricity bill down.
One of the biggest changes I made was with our computers. We have a desktop and a laptop and both computers were left on all the time though they were in standby mode (which is less energy consumption than being fully powered on). This was a matter of convenience which allowed us to jump on the computer at any time. But the fact was, for many, many hours the computers were not used which was a waste of energy.
I also noticed that the laptop power cord contained a transformer which had a small green light on. That meant that even when the computer was not directly pulling power, the transformer was always pulling some small amount of power (this would be true of other charging cords like for a cell phone). Likewise, we often left our cable box on and just turned off the TV – yet a small light on the cable box told me that power was still being used.
To conserve energy (and money), we began to power down the computer whenever we were done with it. If we would be using the computer later in the day, we would be sure to put it into standby (instead of waiting for the computer to do that itself after being idle) and turn off the monitor (desktop). This was a little less convenient, but it turned out that the desktop was sometimes off for days in a row instead of constantly on (despite not being used).
We also began to use the laptop more – laptops are generally cheaper to run than desktops. And we unplugged the laptop power cord as much as possible (to avoid pulling power through the transformer). Again, when not in use, the laptop was shutdown completely.
In addition to the computers, we tried to be conscientious about turning lights off. We turned the cable box off when not and use. I also tried to not overuse my clothes dryer. Before I would just turn the timer up to some high setting – now I have gotten a feel for the minimum time I need to let the dryer run.
So, did all of this pay off? Yes – we saved $20 off our electricity bill during the first month. Plus I feel better about conserving energy from an environmental perspective. It is now less convenient to just jump on the computer whenever I want (and not have to wait for it to start up), but that convenience is not worth $20 per month.
If you would like to learn more about saving on your electricity cost there is some good information in these articles (and on this website in general): Hidden Electrical Bandits and Electricity Myths.