There are thousands and thousands of posts out there that list the ways that you can reduce the amount of power you use inside your home. You already know about hanging your clothing to dry instead of using the dryer and turning off all of the lights. But what about the energy and utilities that you use in your yard? The outdoors is not electrical power free. In fact, for some homes, it is the power they use outdoors that drives up their utility bills. Here are a few things you can do to reduce those costs.
If you are lucky enough to live in a state that has deregulated its energy industry, then consider yourself lucky! You get to choose your energy provider, and if you don’t like the one serving you currently, you can make a change. Many residents in Texas, for example, use sites like http://www.localelectricitycompanies.com/texas/reliant-energy/ to compare and contrast local providers. You likely have a similar site if you live in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc. Spend some time shopping around to find the best deals in your area. Simply switching energy providers might be all it takes to cut your power bill dramatically.
If your state is one that is still highly regulated, don’t worry. There are plenty of tips that include you, too. Here are some of them.
Turn It Off
How many of your outside lights, sprinklers, etc. run on timers? Probably most of them, right? Turn off that timer. That itty bitty timer that doesn’t seem to use that much power actually eats power all day. It might not be very much at any given moment, but those moments add up. Plus, if you follow the rest of our suggestions you probably won’t need your outdoor timer anyway.
Rather than have your lights set to turn on and off at specific times, opt for lights that turn on and off based on motion. This will use less power and make your house safer at the same time. Why? Because lights that run on timers are predictable. Someone would only need to pay attention to figure out when they went on and off and make their moves accordingly. What’s more, motion sensing lights act more as a spotlight than an ambient light, shining only those lamps that have been activated.
Use LED bulbs in all of your outdoor lighting fixtures. These bulbs are more expensive; it’s true, but they more than pay for themselves over the course of their lifetimes. LED bulbs use a fraction of the power that incandescents, fluorescents, and even CFLs need. They last longer, too. And they give off less heat which is good for any decorative lighting you might have hanging up in your yard.
This goes for your holiday lights too, if you put those up. Instead of the traditional tangle, opt for LED rope lights. They are easier to manage, just as pretty, and much less likely to accidentally set fire to your home if left on for too long.
Ditch the Lawn
Sure, a nice, plush, green yard is really pretty and feels great under your feet when you are running around outside. Unfortunately, that same gorgeous lawn is also a blight on the environment. Switch to rocks or bark chips spread between container gardens instead. You won’t have to water the lawn anymore, which will save you a ton of money on your power bill and you can ditch the timer that powered your sprinkler system.
If you simply must have the pretty green lawn, try using gray water to water it instead of sprinkler or hose water. Greywater is most commonly associated with rainwater collection, but there are other sources for it as well. Greywater is better for your plants and your lawn, and it dramatically reduces your dependency on the municipal water grid. The simplest and most straightforward way to collect this water is to set up a rain barrel. This rain barrel can be freestanding, but you’ll collect far more water if you hook it up to the gutter system on your house. This is a simple task that you can do in an afternoon--but make sure your city allows you to have a rain barrel. Some cities have outlawed them because of the revenue the city loses when people reduce their municipal grid dependency.
These are just some of the methods you can use to reduce the amount of power your yard and the outside of your home will eat up. We’re sure that if you are willing to get a little bit creative and contribute some elbow grease that you’ll come up with plenty more.