September marks the end of summer – a relief to some and melancholy to others. With days getting noticeably shorter, we’re inclined to turn the lights on earlier. Eventually we’ll be turning on the heat. We may also be spending more time indoors than in previous months, and this can have unintended consequences when it comes to energy consumption.

There are some simple one-step changes you can make to cut down on electricity use at home:

  • Turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Set your TV on a timer to turn off automatically in case you fall asleep.
  • Lower or turn off your heat/AC when you aren’t home.
  • Swap out incandescent bulbs for LED – this one makes a HUGE difference in your overall environmental impact.
  • Install solar light fixtures for your outdoor lighting.
  • Unplug electronics when they are not in use; if your outlets are behind furniture or otherwise difficult to access, consider adding a power strip with an extension to make switching these items off more convenient.

Now for the big changes:

Most electric companies also offer options to get all or some of your household energy from renewables, often at little or no cost – check your electric bill or energy provider’s website for information, and consider making the switch to more environmentally-friendly energy sources.

If you’re a homeowner, you even have the option to install solar panels and to source some of your electricity locally. During any home renovations, look into energy-efficient appliances to replace old, energy-intensive ones. Consider a programmable thermostat to ensure you aren’t wasting electricity at times when you don’t need to adjust the temperature. These options may have a higher cost upfront, but the payoff will be quick when your energy bill comes around.

Insulate/weatherize your home. Small air leaks can add up to significant heating/cooling costs, and many of these can be remedied by simply applying caulk/silicon to any cracks in walls, doors, or windows. Insulation creates a temperature-trapping barrier between your living space and the outdoors, which means both your heating and cooling efforts will last longer in a well-insulated home.

Remember, even small changes make a big difference over time! Any efforts you make towards conserving energy at home are worthwhile, and contribute to shrinking your personal carbon footprint. For more information, take this quiz to test your knowledge and learn more about energy efficiency: