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In 2016, scientists announced that the hole in ozone layer has shrunk by 1.7 million square miles and that by the year 2050 it would be completely covered. This piece of good news indicated a huge success and served as clear evidence that through collective effort and sustainable pro-environment legislation, pollution levels could be kept in check. Nevertheless, the shrinkage of the hole in the ozone layer does not mean that climate change and environmental decline halted. Unfortunately, they are at an all time high. The latest findings reveal that Greenland ice is melting at alarming levels and environmental groups point out that wildlife protection should be a given higher priority. In light of the fact that certain world powers have reduced funding for climate change research even downright denied its existence, the average responsible citizen wonders what can be done at a personal level and why such a small effort matters at all. The good news is that it does. If everyone made a few lifestyle changes, the results would be visible in a couple of years. All the overwhelming evidence for environmental decline might be discouraging, but it is never too late to take action and get involved in saving the planet, one small change at a time.  

Reduce the carbon footprint

One of the main causes of global warming is that we emit too many gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. Not only do these decrease air quality, but also lead to a rise in temperature levels. So, what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

Energy efficient appliances

Our modern existence relies of electrical appliances and giving them all up would be drastic and unpractical. Fortunately, you don’t have to, because quality standards have changed and there is a huge difference between what our parents used and what we use now. Today’s appliances are made with eco-friendliness in mind and they cause less emissions that older ones. So, if you are still using an old fridge, cooker or heater, consider replacing it with one that has A+ energy efficiency. It works better, consumes less electricity and helps the planet in the long run.

Insulate your home to reduce energy consumption

Paying thousands for high-end appliances is of no help for the planet if they work 24/7. Insulation can help change that. Experts at gni.ca inform homeowners that a well insulated house locks in heat, which increases home comfort and reduces the need for electrical appliances. Uninsulated houses have small cracks around windows and doors, sometimes even in the roof or in the attic and heat exchange occurs through those cracks which might not even be observed with the naked eye. As a result, you can never get the right temperature; it’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, so some kind of HVAC appliance must always be turned on. This increases energy bills and releases many emissions into the air. But, if you insulate your house, this transfer no longer occurs. You can have a comfortable temperature all year round and only turn on appliances every once in a while.

Managing waste and pollution

Waste and pollution are very dangerous for the ecosystem and can cause the extinction of many endangered species. Although you might not be aware, some modern products and habits can increase waste and pollution, so here’s what you can do.

Use less harsh chemicals

Everyday things such as window cleaner and detergent can cause pollution if they are made using toxic or harsh chemicals, so you should try and switch to gentler formulas where possible. eco-friendly products are less readily available, but the search is worth it. If saving the planet is not a good enough incentive, then keep in mind that harsh chemicals are equally harmful for your health. For example, the innocent looking beaded face scrub can end up in the sea and back into our plates if we eat seafood.

Reuse & recycle

The amount of toxic waste that humans produce is incredible and there have never been more awareness campaigns for recycling. Instead of using one trash can for everything, use several smaller ones and sort your trash based on its type. Dispose of waste responsibly and always call your local recycling service to get rid of broken or old appliances. Last, but not least, re-use when possible and encourage the entire family to embrace upcycling rather than consumerism.

Entries in this blog

Cynthia Madison

Green brands are thriving. But why? Well, when it comes to customers, they consider many variables when they decide to shop from a company or not. And lately, as environmental concerns increased in importance and mediatization, they try to find more products and services coming from companies with strong green values.

In this day and time, the general awareness of environmental issues and the continuous search of the wide audience for better, less polluting and less damaging products and services forces companies to shift their policies and internal processes to find solutions to age-old problems. The customer today is leaning towards sustainable, green and organic products. And if you are a manufacturer with nothing green about their business, well, you might be on a tight grip here and you might see your business endangered by the new consumer.

While being more conscious of your business and how does it impact the environment is important, greening your establishment will also bring you some unexpected rewards. Let’s analyse below how and why all businesses should start their green measure implementation as soon as possible.

Start Small

Simple measures (for the beginning) like ditching plastic bags are a good starting point to make your business more appealing in your customer’s eyes. Only think of priding yourself on being an eco-friendly business and handing your customers plastic bags. This will spoil the whole eco business image that you want to build. Instead, make sure to adapt your packaging strategy and switch from plastic bags to paper ones. Small retailers can even invest in cloth branded bags. The eco-conscious customer loves not only to recycle but also to reuse. Offer them this opportunity and make sure that you make this change visible. You can even send a newsletter to all your customers and informing them that your shop will no longer retail plastic bags. This will turn out to be a piece of information that most customers will love.

Include Several Green Products into Your Portfolio

While consumers today have bigger expectations from manufacturers and retailers when it comes to their environmental measures, they aren’t absurd enough to demand completely green products. This is something that may never be achieved. However, a little effort on your business part will come as a pleasant surprise and your customers will become more engaged with your brand and will end up supporting you more than your not-so-green competitors. This is an advantage that you can start to exploit quite easily.

Having a few environmental-conscious products in your offer will positively and efficiently showcase your tendency to support the environment and your customers are more likely to engage with your business. Set up a green product corner, supply local products and try to rethink your supply chain for long-term perspectives.

Slowly transitioning to eco-friendly products is not impossible at all, but it will take some time to approach this matter and adapt it to your company’s products and services.

Work on Internal Processes

Becoming a completely eco-friendly business takes a lot of work and dedication. For shop owners, including some eco-friendly products is only one part of the whole transition, for instance. They also have to work on their behind-the-scene processes and adapt those to make them more environmentally friendly. While this is a complex process, businesses who have changed their internal processes gained new customers and increased their retention rates.

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. This is one easy step to a greener establishment. Plus, you can always encourage those entities part of your supply chain to reduce the volume of packaging when delivering goods. Waste management is another variable that you must pay extra attention to, especially as a grocery shop owner. Make sure that you put on discount all products that come close to their expiration dates. This will encourage your customers to shop for those and will make them realise that you treat with extra care the food waste matter.

Market All Your Changes

Invest in marketing campaigns that put on display all these changes, if you want to increase brand awareness and gain more customers. If you keep those only for your company you cut your business the chance to thrive. Trade show displays make amazing choices when you want to raise awareness in the shop when it comes to bio products or locally-sourced products. A “green” corner will be easily marked by these display’s presence. Make sure to include information on other similar measures that your company prides itself on. For instance, include the fact that you are now sourcing some of your products from local, bio farms, that you changed all your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones and so on. The representatives at UK Exhibition Stands claim that their clients are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to their products and lately, they began to use those to display efficiently similar changes in their shops.

“Green” Your Building

Green buildings bring the immense advantage of lowering the overall costs associated with running a business of any type. To make your building more environmentally-friendly, you have a few effective tools and actions to implement. Invest in proper insulation systems to lower your energy expenses and consumption rates. Solar panels are a great investment for those businesses why also want to become known on the market for the care and attention to the environment. Running an Energy Efficiency Audit will offer you a better idea on what your company lacks when it comes to building efficiency and what measures they can implement to achieve higher “green” standards.

These are only some of the changes that businesses today can make to make their establishments “greener” and more appealing for today’s consumer. Keep in mind that the consumer today is more attentive when it comes to such issues and concerns and not aligning your business to today’s requirements might prove a fatal error for you.

Cynthia Madison

Those homeowners who want to lower their electricity bills or minimize their negative impact on the surrounding environment can tackle small energy efficiency improvements that make a huge difference, from controlled ventilation, window treatments and advanced framing to insulation, non-traditional roofs and skylights. More specifically, those people who live in a hot climate can install fans throughout the house instead of resorting to air conditioning because not only it keeps the living space cool, but it also helps them save money. Mechanical ventilation prevents structural damage over time and health risks because it creates a cozy ambiance while reducing air moisture inflation. Another method that allows homeowners to maintain the air inside cool while reducing heat loss is purchasing linen curtains, which have the purpose to control temperatures. Optimum value engineering saves energy as well by using more insulation thus preventing the waste of wood. Houses in warm climates should have cool roofs, which reflect sunlight and skylights, which improve ventilation, lighting and heating.

 

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The kitchen is the most energy-hungry space in the house

There are many easy ways through which people can boost their home’s energy efficiency including trading incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), lowering the thermostat or opting for a programmable one, buying a front-loading washing machine, unplugging appliances when not in use, particularly in the kitchen, inspecting doors and windows in order to ensure proper weather stripping and caulking. However, what happens when you follow most of these instructions, but you still experience a shock when you open your monthly electric bill? You probably cannot find a logical answer or explanation for all the power consumed in a single month, but you probably have not realized yet that you are feeding daily the most energy-hungry area in the house, namely the kitchen. Just think about all the appliances destined for cooling and heating foods, from oven and microwave to fridge and stovetop. Obviously, just like everyone else, you cannot stop from using these appliances, but you can learn how to get the most out of them.

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You do not have to replace your perfectly functional appliances

We understand that most homeowners do not afford or do not want to invest in the latest models, particularly if their current appliances are in perfect condition so with a few simple changes, they can save both cash and CO2, in case you decide to adopt a low-carbon lifestyle. For instance, taking into account that you can reduce costs by washing your clothes at lower temperatures because the washing machine uses less electricity, you can apply the same principle to your dishwasher. More exactly, if you avoid turning it on when you do not necessarily need to, you automatically save not just electricity, but also water. You do not have to make great compromises; you just cut a single dishwasher cycle weekly.

Furthermore, make sure that you know what appliance to use for every task. This means that if you want to cook simple desserts or fast breakfasts in the morning, you should definitely choose the microwave instead of the oven because it uses less energy in order to heat the food directly, not just the air around it. Of course, if you are willing to explore wood burning cook stoves and invest money in a superior quality product, then you can feel free to use it whenever you consider appropriate. The main idea is to make sure that you reconsider your kitchen decisions if you want to increase energy-efficiency.

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Oven optimization: tricks that will help you save energy

The majority of people cannot resist the temptation of opening the oven door slightly just to peek inside and determine the progress of their cooking, but this minor gesture leads to a great amount of heat being released in the kitchen and you know it because you feel it hitting your face. Satisfying this morbid curiosity is more than possible and actually more energy efficient if you just switch on the oven light or if you know precisely the amount of time your pie needs to grow or your turkey breast to roast and you turn off the oven when the food is done. Other tricks that you should keep in mind when using the oven refer to using the right dish, preferably glass or ceramic because they represent better conductors of heat, not to mention the aesthetics, checking for leaks periodically in order to identify potential signs of tears or gaps and avoiding putting foil on the oven racks, which decreases the efficiency of convection ovens.

Since we already discussed heat, you should probably know that the most energy consuming activity in the kitchen involves boiling water on the stove. Even if you put into practice the ideas or pieces of advice mentioned above to save energy, if you continue with this practice, you are practically pouring it down the drain. Even more, people tend to waste water unnecessarily by keeping the pot or kettle under the faucet for too long and heating more water than they actually need for a cup of tea or coffee. This represents a bad habit that most homeowners out there developed in time without knowing or realizing that it actually makes them lose money.

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Mistakes to avoid when using the refrigerator

Moving on to another energy consuming appliance, namely the refrigerator, the truth is that you have to keep it plugged in so that it maintains a constant temperature and prevent all the food from spoiling. In fact, you cannot even unplug it when you leave home like you can do with other appliances in the house. Fortunately, there are ways to increase its efficiency. These refer to never putting hot food in the fridge because it will raise the temperature in the ice box, thus making its job more difficult, never leaving the freezer empty because it allows the warm air to enter when you open it, thus necessitating more energy o cool down again and ditching the automatic ice maker for ice trays. Of course, the first option is more convenient, but it also consumes more energy.

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Cynthia Madison

If you are running a business, then this is the right moment for you to enter into the sustainable industry and to transform your company into a green one. More and more companies consider this a great strategy, and they make their inception into the green industry. But the key is not only to make the transition, but to make sure that you are doing it right. The majority of companies do not fully understand what the transition process implies and they do not know what to do. Well, it all starts with promoting your business, if you reach the right audience, then you will receive feedback on your work, and you will quickly manage to complete the transition.

Because you are a beginner in this industry, you may have no idea what marketing strategies to use in order to achieve success. You will first have to understand the concept of eco-friendly business, and then you can create a marketing campaign. Your goal is to show your clients that your business cares about the environment.

What are the requirements in the green industry?

Numerous businesses in the industry state that they are eco-friendly, but if it were to check their products and services, you will quickly understand that they only make the claim, without meeting certain requirements. If you want people to trust you that you embrace green practices, then you have to prove to them that you are authentic. Here are the main requirements you will have to meet in order to characterize your company as a green one.

·         You have to make sure that the services and products you offer, do not contain toxic materials and ingredients and they do not have ozone-depleting features.

·         Your clients can re-use the products you offer, and they are created to be re-used over a long period of time.

·         Your clients can recycle the products you offer

·         You create the products following green requirements and you make sure they include only recycled materials.

·         You use only eco-friendly packing, made from biodegradable materials.

·         You make sure that you do not use materials in excess when you manufacture the products.

How can you market your green products?

Your clients are your priority

Transforming your business into a green one is the greatest initiative you have ever had, but you have to make sure that your clients know that you are changing your direction. Customers will buy from you only if they know what to expect from you. You have to create a message that helps clients understand what your intentions are. If you explain to them what you want to do in order to transform your company into a green one, they will continue to buy from you.

Tell your clients what benefits they have if they choose you

If you want your clients to continue to buy from you, you should make sure that you tell them what benefits they will have if they choose an eco-friendly company. Just because you offer green products now, it is not enough to reach new clients; you will have to share with them what benefits these products bring. One great way to attract customers is to share the benefits with the help of exhibition stands. Organise an event to let people know that you change the direction of your business.

When you make the description of your products, you should use certain keywords. They let people know the benefits they will have if they choose you.

Make sure that you let them know that they will use eco-friendly products. Your products bring multiple economic, social and environmental benefits.

You should also highlight the fact that your products are not toxic, and both the products and the packing are environmentally friendly.

You should also make sure that the buyers know that your products do not include toxic chemicals and other similar harmful elements. They are healthier for the persons who consume them, in comparison with standard products.  

When you promote your products, make sure to share on display stands that your products are biodegradable, and once they get into nature they will decompose into elements that do not harm the environment.

Show your support for local communities

If you are an eco-friendly company then you will show your support to the local organisations that fight for a greener world. You should support local eco-friendly programs, organisation initiatives, and different other actions that help the world become a better place.

You should motivate your employees to get involved in the process. You should establish a day when your team leaves the office and fights for a cause. You should clean the park from garbage during that day, plant trees or do whatever activity you consider that will bring a change. If you promote community involvement, people will trust that you have the needed commitment to transform your business into a green one. 

Online marketing should be a priority

If you want to transform your entire business into a green one, then you should also change the way you promote yourself. You should use no longer paper, you should use only online methods to promote your products and services. Not only that you help the environment, because you cut down the resources used to manufacture paper, but you also save money, because online marketing is cheaper than traditional one. People do not have to buy the newspaper, you can send it to their email address. If you place an online banner, you will pay less than if you place a traditional one. And you have a positive impact on the environment.

You can take advantage of social media, because this is the most effective way to get in touch with your customers and to increase your prospects. If you count on discount coupons to attract customers, you may think that you will not be able to complete the transition, because people still wait for their coupons to get to their mail. But if you send them on their email, they will have the same benefits, only, that they will not use the paper coupon, but the digital form when they will want to use the discount coupons.

Cynthia Madison

The importance of taking better care of our environment has become an incredibly popular idea which has spread all around the world. More and more people have noticed or experienced the changes of the environment which have been caused by the negligence and actions of humans who did not pay enough attention to the natural resources or how their actions affect the world we live in. Extreme weather conditions and heavy pollution caused by the traffic and the negligent production of the large factories and the individuals who do not recycle the waste they produce have become something which affects us all because it has led to numerous health affections such as respiratory problems and allergies which people have developed due to the fact that the environment which we live in is not a healthy one anymore. Here are some changes which you implement in your lifestyle to become an environmentally-friendly person.

Make your home greener

One of the most important and influential steps which you need to make when you decide to become an environmentally-friendly person is to improve your home to become a greener one. The home which you live in is the place where you spend most of your time, so, apart from the fact that by transforming it into an eco-friendly one, you are going to help the environment, you are also going to improve your health by living in a healthier environment.  There are numerous ways which you can use to transform your home in a green one such as insulating it to avoid heat loss throughout the walls of your house and reduce the electrical bills, reduce the water waste of your household by collecting the rainwater which you can use for chores such as watering the plants or lawn or washing your car, consider renting a temporary boiler only for the cold months, use sunlight as much as possible instead of turning on all the lights inside your house, use your creativity to repurpose old items rather than throwing them away, and recycle all the waste which your household produces by buying large colored cans designed for separating the waste in order to make it easier to take it to a recycling company which can make sure the waste is reused properly.

Donate

We all have numerous items which we find useless because they are not in a perfect shape anymore or simply because when we have bought them, they seemed to be incredibly useful but ended up in a drawer which we never open. Since you definitely have a bunch of clutter inside your home, you could go green and get rid of them by donating them to the people who need it rather than throwing them in the trash. Apart from the fact that you are going to help the environment by not wasting items which can still be used, you are also going to have a lot of personal satisfaction by seeing that you have made someone smile.

Use your bike or public transportation instead of the car

One of the biggest factors which have a huge negative influence on the environment is the pollution caused by heavy traffic all over the world. If you wish to become an environmentally-friendly person, you should make sure that you no longer contribute to the pollution which slowly destroys our environment and start using your bike or public transportation to travel from a place to another, rather than your personal car.

Start recycling

Apart from the fact the individuals produce a big amount of waste at their households, in everyday life, no matter where they are, they also produce waste such as plastic bags or bottles from the foods and drinks which they consume. As an eco-friendly person, you need to make sure that you look for colored cans designed for recycling to throw your trash rather than throwing it in a place where it will never be repurposed.

Go paperless

We live in the era of the technology and the internet, so, going paperless should not be that hard. We already use numerous apps for almost any task which we complete during our everyday life. So, you could, for example, opt for online billing rather than to be sent a paper bill which you are going to throw anyway and contribute to the waste produced.

Volunteer in eco-friendly activities

Since the awareness of protecting the environment has become such a popular topic, there are numerous organizations which unite the individuals who want to join the cause of taking better care of our environment. In order to be part of this cause and help the environment which we all live in, you need to consider volunteering in eco-friendly activities such as planting trees, collecting garbage at community cleanups, or spreading the awareness to people who are less informed about the best ways which they can implement in their everyday lives to give a hand in protecting the environment.

 

 

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Cynthia Madison

Indoor air quality means the condition of the air that you and your family breathe inside your home. This is an important concern because you spend most of your time indoors and you could be exposed to environmental pollutants. Air pollution is largely considered as being outdoors, but the truth is that the air in your house is more contaminated. Indoor air pollutant levels are higher than outdoor levels. Indoor air pollution happens when toxic contaminants and gases infect the air. You shouldn’t assume that that your home environment is completely safe. Considering that Toronto’s environmental pollution is still causing serious health issues, you can’t afford to take any chances. Be sure. There are many ways to tell if the indoor air quality is bad.

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Get in touch with air quality experts

One of the best ways to know if you have poor home air quality is to have it tested. Sure, selecting Toronto air quality experts is a daunting task, but the Internet has made the process a lot simpler. The air quality experts will investigate your indoor air quality, thus being of great help. What the trained professionals do is offer you peace of mind. You will know for sure whether you and your family are living in a healthy indoor environment. Don’t waste your time with test kits. They aren’t reliable, not to mention that they are expensive. You should better invest your money in professional indoor air quality testing. The consultants will be able to detect even the tiniest sources of poor indoor air quality. The best thing you can do is call in the professionals.

Take notice of your allergies

It’s hard not to attribute an allergy episode to a climate change. Yet, you could be having a sensitive reaction to indoor allergens. The change in weather patterns isn’t to blame, but animal dander, dust mite droppings, and mould. They are the ones overwhelming your immune system. If you experience rashes, watery eyes, trouble breathing or you have a runny nose, then chances are that you have poor home air quality. Pay attention to when and where the symptoms appear and disappear. If allergy symptoms occur when you stay at home, you have a problem. But what if you don’t have allergy symptoms at all? Well, take notice of your loved ones. Their sensitivity is a good indicator of indoor air quality.

Investigate the indoor air quality

You can tell if your home has poor air quality by looking for sources of pollution. Know that it’s not easy to identify sources of environmental pollution and that their presence doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem. Here are some examples of sources of poor air quality:

·         Damp carpets

·         Old pieces of furniture

·         Heating equipment

·         Building materials

There is nothing more important than the health of your family, so don’t ignore the aforementioned sources of indoor air pollution. Look for these culprits even before you have your home tested.

Look for mould growth

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It’s not uncommon for mould to grow and homes. What is uncommon, on the other hand, is to inhale mould spores. Mould poses threats to the health. Harmful effects of mould include allergic reactions, rashes, coughing, and eczema. But these should be the least of your worries. Exposure to mould leads to infection, respiratory problems, and even cancer. Mould is not as easy to identify as you may think. The fungus is usually hidden from the view, so finding its source can be difficult. Places you need to check are the corners where the walls meet the ceiling, behind appliances, and in the basement.

Consider home improvements and repairs

Home improvements and repairs can affect the indoor air quality. How so? Making updates results in strange things. For instance, if you install a new A/C, you and your family can get sick. The filter retains all kinds of germs and bacteria, so if it isn’t cleaned regularly, it can become dangerous. Other changes that affect the home environment are removal of asbestos and lead-based paint. If you haven’t gotten to cleaning up after such projects, it’s time you did. The last thing you want is to suffer health consequences.

When it comes to determining if you have poor indoor air quality, it is better to get in touch with the experts. Trained professionals are the only ones capable of discovering the gravity of the situation. They can tell you which is the source of the indoor air pollution and how you can deal with the problem. The greatest thing of all is that the solutions provided are neither difficult nor expensive. If you have a reasonable doubt concerning the quality of the indoor air, contact the professionals.

Cynthia Madison

We as consumers also have a responsibility. We must be careful about wasteful energy usage. The more we consume energy, the more we have to pay in energy bills and pay in the form of environmental damage.

Jim Bridgeforth, President of American Power and Gas, is among the few people who seem to be really worried about the wasteful use of energy. He knows it is scarce and he is doing his part to create a renewable energy Future, one that is affordable and efficient.

In a Recent Interview with Forbes, Bridgeforth stated that 80% of all energy consumption in the US comes from the industrial sector, thus making the transition for consumers tricky as they are all sourced from the same grid. Essentially, widespread use for consumers has become something that requires a higher initial cost, which most can't afford.

Keeping in mind that not everyone is physically able to transition to renewable energy services, how can consumers play their part in the meantime? Let’s have a look at five items in your house that could cause your energy bill to skyrocket:

1.Your Refrigerator

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A refrigerator uses a lot of energy. All electrical items that cool things require large quantities of energy, refrigerators are no different.

They use 4% of all electricity, costing about $100 per year. However, you may end up paying a lot more if you don't pay attention to the small things.

To reduce the cost, make sure not to leave the door open for long. This allows the cooling to escape, forcing the refrigerator to work even harder, resulting in more use of energy and hence higher costs (not to mention it could spoil your food if left open long enough).

2. Heating

America is one of the coldest nations out there, especially some parts of it, which is why heating costs are pretty high averaging about $650 per year.

To save money, try to use other techniques, such as keeping your Doors and windows closed so that no cool air can enter your home. Other than this, install insulators and keep your house covered to make sure you do not have to use a lot of heating.

Also, keep an eye on the thermometer, make sure you remember to shut off heating and cooling systems before leaving the house.

3. Computers

Computers only use about 1% of the energy costing around $25 per year, but if you have several computers and smartphones charging at all hours, the cost may go a lot higher.

4. Washer and Dryer

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They make up about 13% of the overall energy cost. Washers use a lot of energy. They constantly move and keep the water in motion to do the job. Similarly, dryers are also expensive to use. Try to avoid doing Laundry every day, or get it down to 1-2 times per week.

It is expensive to produce heat, and the yearly cost associated with using a dryer can be as high as $325.

5. Electric Oven

If you are a fan of baking and cooking, you probably are using your oven a lot. On average, they make about 4% of the total energy consumption, which makes about $100 per year.

Go slow on over usage and you can save money.

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