Why reduce electricity consumption?
We’re having fun with the challenge to reduce our electricity consumption! There are many reasons why reducing electricity consumption is beneficial, including saving money by reducing your electricity bill. Here are a couple from a climate action perspective:
- In places like Manitoba where 97% of electricity is emissions free, reducing electricity use doesn’t amount to big direct emissions reductions. In other places, where electricity comes from coal or gas, reducing electricity can amount to big emissions reductions.
- Reducing electricity in places like Manitoba still matters from a Net Zero perspective. When we use less electricity for non-essentials, it makes space for electrifying things we need, like heating/cooling and transportation.
Action 1 – Use small appliances instead of the stove!
Above is a photo of Kari cooking veggies in the Instapot instead of the oven. Smaller appliances use less electricity than bigger ones like the stove. Ovens use 2,000 to 5,000 watts of electricity on average. By comparison, most 6-quart Instapots are around 1000 watts.
Action 2 – Turn off the lights
We put up a sign downstairs to remind us to turn off the lights, a spot where we often forget. It’s been helping to remind us to turn off the lights. During the day, we’ve been keeping the lights off. I personally prefer natural light when it’s light outside.
Action 3 – Use smart and LED lights
Kari is a Smart lights wizard. He’s upgraded our lightbulbs to LED lights which are energy efficient, or Smart lights. I really like Smart lights because they are magical. We say “Hey Google, dim the lights to 50%”, and hazaa, the lights are dimmed. I especially appreciated this feature for putting Fia to bed when she was a newborn. I also find it really fun how Smart light can turn different colours.
Action 4 – Unplug and/or turn off devices that aren’t in use
We learnt that when devices are plugged in but not in use, they still use electricity. This is called phantom power! Up to 10% of home electricity is from phantom power. We are unplugging some of the devices we don’t need plugged in all the time, like kitchen appliances, video game console, cell phone chargers, laundry machines, and turning off power bars for computers. For the greatest impact, unplug or turn off bigger devices as these use more electricity than smaller ones. A hint that’s helped us with managing this is to use power bars where you can (i.e. home entertainment unit, computers, etc.), as all you need to do when you’re finished using them is to turn off the power bar instead of unplugging multiple devices.
Action 5 – Use wool balls to cut drying time in half
We tried out these wool dryer balls this week! They can cut laundry drying time in half, reducing electricity use. They worked very well. We dried a load of clothes for 30 minutes instead of the usual 60 minutes.
Thanks so much for your interest in climate-friendly household action!