Tips on How to Save Water and Energy

Melanie Gaball

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College students are energy guzzlers. With the constant use of cellphones, tablets, and laptops, and the never-ending charging cycle, students potentially waste a lot of electricity. The price of electricity in Los Angeles has exceeded the U.S. average by more than 42 percent in the month of February for the last five years, according to the United States Department of Labor. And with so many bills to pay, students can’t afford spending more than they need to on utilities. So here are some tips on how to save energy and water while simultaneously minimizing at least one pesky bill.

1. Take showers rather than baths

Showers generally use less water than baths, but only if you have a flow restricting shower head and you aren’t taking excessively long showers. Showers account for two-thirds of your water heating costs, according to consumerenergycenter.org. To double check how much water you use while showering, put the drain down and see how much water fills up (this will not work if you have a stand-alone shower). If it fills up more than it would if you were taking a bath, than you may want to consider shortening your shower time. By reducing lingering time by a few minutes, a family of four can save hundreds of gallons of water and a significant amount of money.

2. Use one large light bulb instead of a few small ones

In parts of your dwelling where you need less light, use light bulbs with the least amount of wattage. However, if you need a lot of light it is better to use one large light bulb rather than a few smaller ones. One 100-watt light bulb uses less energy and gives off more light than two 60-watt bulbs.

3. Turn up the thermostat

In the summer, try not to overdo it with your air conditioner. With every degree set over 72, you can save 1 to 3 percent of energy. Is there really that big of a difference between 68 and 73 degrees? The California Energy Commission suggests setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when away. Ventilate your home in the evening by opening windows and doors, allowing cool air to circulate and let the heat out.

4. Wash clothes on cold

Washing machines don’t require a minimum temperature for optimal cleaning. To reduce energy use, wash clothes on either cold or warm water, unless your clothes have greasy stains. Wash and dry on full loads, and dry loads back to back. The dryer will already be warmed up requiring less energy to get it heated, according to energy.gov. Line dry whenever possible to save up to 5 percent.

5. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving

The average bathroom faucet uses six gallons per minute. If you simply wet your brush, turn off the water, brush and then turn it back on to rinse, you can save gallons according to Glendale Water and Power.

6. Water plants in the early morning or evening

To avoid evaporation, water your plants when the sun is least visible. This can save up to 25 gallons of water each day, according to bewaterwise.com.

7. Unplug computer and phone chargers when not in use

Most chargers still use electricity even when they aren’t charging a device. Also, any device with a clock is considered an “Energy Vampire,” which uses electricity 24 hours a day, according to the LA Department of Water and Power. So unplug wires and chargers that aren’t in use.