20 Ways Students can Conserve Electricity

Piggy Bank with Electrical outlet in place of nose and grounded power chord for “cost of electricity or power” concept

Energy conservation is a hot topic these days.  With a surging global population, rapid inflation, and the consequences of pollution and global warming, now is the time to change how Canadians use electricity in the home.  While we need electricity for day to day living, creating habits to save on electricity is our responsibility for future generations to have opportunities to succeed.

Leaving depleted resources and letting future generations face tremendous hardship is no legacy to leave behind.  On the home front, conserving electricity results in lower electrical bills, lessens the burden on electrical companies, and creates positive habits for all family members to practice.  Saving electricity also conserves water in some cases, and helps us respect natural resources and use them with care.

As a student studying from home, there are all kinds of ways to lower the electrical bill.

  1. Take your lap top and work to the public library and give your home electricity a break.
  2. If your home is heated with electricity, lowering the thermostat two to five degrees will save 5-10% annually. Put on those layers and a nice big sweater.
  3. Draw the blinds to block the hot summer sun and reduce air-conditioning demands.
  4. Whenever possible, close doors to empty rooms and only cool or heat occupied rooms.
  5. Reduce kitchen heating costs by making use of the outdoor barbecue, making salads and cold plates, and avoiding oven use throughout summer.
  6. Turn off unnecessary lights every time you leave a room unoccupied. Also, use natural lighting as much as possible for reading areas.
  7. Unplug appliances, lighting, and computers when not in use. While this may seem like an unnecessary chore, getting into the habit offers significant savings.  Standby power can account for up to one tenth of yearly household electrical consumption!
  8. Use ceiling lights less and task lighting more for study, hobby, and kitchen areas. Multi-lighting consumes much more electricity over time.
  9. Run shorter showers since hot water is costly.
  10. Turn off the faucet when shaving, washing hands, and brushing teeth; run the cold tap instead of the hot.
  11. Repair leaky faucets immediately. Hot water leaks result in major electricity waste.
  12. If you have old freezers or TVs, recycle or donate them—those energy suckers cost big bucks.
  13. Run full loads of laundry instead of multiple smaller ones. Save additionally by washing in cold water.
  14. Line-dry laundry as often as possible. Albeit easier when the sun shines, nothing smells as amazingly fresh as sun-dried sheets.
  15. Add a small towel to dryer loads and drastically reduce drying time.
  16. Deselect the heat-dry setting on the dishwasher and let dishes air-dry.
  17. Unplug a second fridge or freezer and only plug-in as needed. A great tip for summertime is to freeze containers of water or purchase freezer packs and add them to coolers as required.
  18. Use the microwave, toaster oven, or crock pot over the oven—they use much less energy.
  19. When using the stove, keep lids on pots to reduce cooking time.
  20. Check for a proper seal on fridge and freezer doors. The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius and -18 for the freezer. Since it’s the most costly appliance to run, it’s sensible to ensure it’s as efficient as possible.

Initiating a few small changes in how you run electricity creates positive changes to your annual electrical bill.  Furthermore, when the entire family practices energy saving habits, it also generates a positive impact on the environment.  When I received my first electrical bill for the new home I was renting, I knew I had to make some changes.  I challenged myself to reduce my bill by at least 40%.  Two months later, I opened my next bill to discover I’d managed to reduce my electricity costs by a whopping 54%.

And you can always use the extra money for other things, like school tuition or groceries.  Take the challenge and spread the word.