7 Ways to Cut Energy Costs in Small Spaces

Global energy demand continues to rise and is expected to increase by 50% by 2050. This has raised concerns about environmental sustainability, and finding ways to cut energy costs has become a priority for many. Fortunately, there are several effective strategies that can be implemented to reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills in small spaces. By making changes to daily habits and adopting energy-saving technologies, you can achieve significant cost savings while contributing to a more sustainable future. From simple behavioral changes to the implementation of energy-efficient appliances like a single zone mini split system, our comprehensive guide can help you reduce energy consumption in small spaces.

Ways to cut energy bills at home

1. Conduct an Energy Audit

Conducting an energy audit is an essential first step in identifying areas of energy waste and implementing effective energy-saving measures. By conducting a thorough assessment of your small space’s energy usage, you can identify specific areas where energy is being consumed inefficiently and develop a targeted plan for improvement.

Start by examining your utility bills to get an overview of your energy consumption patterns over time. Look for any noticeable trends or spikes in energy usage to help you identify areas that require immediate attention. Use energy monitoring devices, smart meters or apps to track real-time energy usage and identify any abnormal patterns or excessive energy consumption. These devices can provide valuable insights into your energy usage habits.

Next, inspect for any energy leaks or inefficiencies. Check for drafts around windows and doors, inadequate insulation and any areas where conditioned air may be escaping or outside air may be infiltrating. Additionally, assess your lighting fixtures, appliances and heating and cooling systems for outdated or inefficient models. Switch to energy-efficient models with high ENERGY STAR ratings.

2. Upgrade Your HVAC

Upgrading your HVAC system can improve your home’s energy savings. Older HVAC units tend to be less efficient and consume up to 50% more energy. Consider investing in energy-efficient options such as the MRCOOL mini split. MRCOOL DIY mini split systems offer advanced technologies to optimize performance. These include smartphone connectivity for precise temperature control and five operating modes to reduce energy consumption.

The system also offers an impressive 21 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). This is eight points above the nationally recommended minimum, resulting in substantial long-term energy savings.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is a simple yet effective way to save energy and reduce costs. With a programmable thermostat, you can set temperature schedules based on your daily routine. This ensures that your heating and cooling system operates efficiently when needed and adjusts to energy-saving temperatures when space is unoccupied.

how to reduce heating and cooling costs at home

For example, you can program the thermostat to lower the temperature during the hours when you’re away from home or asleep and raise it before you return or wake up. By reducing the temperature inside your home by approximately 10°F for at least eight hours, you can save up to 10% on your energy bills annually without sacrificing comfort. A programmable thermostat gives you the flexibility to customize your energy usage and optimize it according to your lifestyle.

4. Use Natural Lighting

Lighting can account for up to 15% of your home’s total energy costs. Rather than switching on overhead lighting or lamps during the day, maximize the natural light in your home. Natural lighting is a fantastic resource for small spaces, providing numerous benefits while helping cut energy costs. By harnessing the power of sunlight, you can create a bright and inviting atmosphere while minimizing the need for artificial lighting.

Position furniture, workstations, and areas where natural light is desired near windows. Keep drapes and blinds open during daylight hours to allow sunlight to flood the space. Install sheer curtains or light-filtering blinds that allow sunlight to penetrate while providing privacy. These window treatments soften harsh sunlight, reducing glare while still allowing ample natural light into the space.

When you do need to use artificial light, ensure you switch the bulbs in your home from incandescent to CFL or LED bulbs. These energy-efficient bulbs can save an average home up to $225 on your monthly energy bill. They also last longer, with CFL bulbs providing around 15,000 hours of illumination and LED bulbs giving 35,000 hours, compared to just 1,500 for incandescent bulbs.

5. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use

Standby power consumption, also known as vampire power, occurs when appliances and electronic devices, like televisions, computers, chargers and small kitchen appliances, continue to draw power even when not used. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, standby power can account for up to 10% of residential electricity usage, costing the average household as much as $100 per year.


Pull that plug!

To combat these unnecessary energy costs, unplug appliances when they are not actively being used. Common energy-draining culprits include televisions, computers, game consoles, chargers, kitchen appliances and audio systems. Plug multiple appliances into power strips with built-in on/off switches. This allows you to conveniently turn off the entire strip with a single switch, cutting off power to all connected appliances simultaneously. It’s especially useful for devices that are grouped together, such as entertainment systems or computer setups.

6. Reduce Water Heating Expenses

Reducing water heating expenses is a practical and effective way to lower energy costs in small spaces. Water heating accounts for around 20% of the energy costs in small homes. To reduce these expenses, consider insulating your pipes to minimize heat loss and maintain hot water temperatures for longer periods. Insulating hot-water pipes prevent heat from dissipating as the water travels from the water heater to the faucets or showers, resulting in less energy wasted on reheating water.

Most water heaters are set at a higher temperature than necessary. Lowering the temperature setting can result in energy savings. Aim for a temperature around 120°F which is still hot enough for most household needs while minimizing energy consumption. Leaky faucets, pipes or fixtures not only waste water but also lead to increased energy consumption. Fixing leaks promptly prevents hot water from being wasted and ensures that the water heater isn’t continuously working to reheat the water.

Replace old, inefficient appliances such as dishwashers with energy-efficient models that use less hot water. Additionally, consider installing low-flow showerheads and aerators on faucets to reduce hot water usage without compromising water pressure.

7. Improve Your Home’s Insulation

Proper insulation is essential for creating energy-efficient small spaces. Insulate walls, floors and ceilings to minimize heat transfer and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Insulation acts as a barrier that prevents heat from escaping during cold seasons and entering during hot seasons, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. Sealing air leaks around windows, doors and other openings can also prevent drafts and energy loss. Try using weatherstripping, caulk or insulation materials to seal these gaps effectively.

Improving insulation and sealing air leaks can help create a more energy-efficient environment and reduce heating and cooling costs by approximately 15%. Proper insulation keeps your space comfortable and contributes to long-term energy savings and a more sustainable lifestyle.

Small Homes, Big Savings: Take Charge of Your Energy Expenses Today!

Small homes may have limited space, but they offer immense potential for big savings when it comes to energy expenses. By taking charge of your energy usage and implementing smart strategies, you can reduce your energy consumption and lower your bills.

Through simple actions like maximizing natural lighting, unplugging appliances when not in use and adopting energy-efficient practices, you can make an impact on your energy savings. With determination, awareness and a commitment to energy efficiency, you can achieve big savings and create a better future for yourself and the planet.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

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