10 Ways to Manage Energy Costs in College
Let’s face it. Earning a college degree isn’t getting any cheaper. You’ve got to cut costs wherever you can. Even though you’ll be running the coffee machine constantly and burning hours on electronic devices, saving energy is one way to reduce expenses while you’re in college. Plus, you’ll be doing the planet a favor!
Here are a few ideas that will reduce your energy use while class is in session.
Power up at the Library
Don’t forget to bring power cords to your library study session. While this won’t technically lower your energy consumption it will shave a little off of your own electric bill.
Does your college have charging stations? If so, see if one is near your classes for a few extra free kilowatt hours.
Invest in a Solar Charger
When your battery is low and you can’t get to the library, a solar charger is a good alternative. Most are designed to be portable for power on the go, but you can also use them at home to charge smartphones and small devices for free.
Study Out on the Quad
Hanging out on the quad is a right of passage for college students. It’s also a great way to save energy while you study. Instead of turning on a light you can use solar power to cram for your next test or create a thesis paper outline.
Get Yourself a Smart Power Strip
College students have more electronics than ever. Managing all those power supplies is easier and cheaper with a smart power strip. A smart power strip lives up to its name by helping prevent energy waste and energy vampires from needlessly using power. It does so by sensing when a device is in standby mode and completely cutting power to the device. Estimates put standby power as 5-10% of energy consumption so a few smart power strips can make a significant difference.
Put Your Curtains to Good Use
Love those stylish curtains you got at Bed, Bath & Beyond? Well they can do a lot more than just look good. Curtains can save energy by letting natural light in when you need it as well as blocking heat and cold transfer from the windows.
Open Up Your Windows
Fall is the season for a new school year and fresh air. Too often when things get warm and stuffy inside we crank on the air conditioner. In most parts of the country, by the end of September you’re better off opening a few windows. Not only is it an energy-free way to cool things off, it also allows for better air circulation, which improves air quality inside.
Get Yourself a Fan
Another way to cool off without the AC is by using a fan. As long as you’re in the room, a fan will provide a chill effect that makes it feel a few degrees cooler. Just be careful to turn fans off when you’re not in the room since that will only waste energy.
Minimize Those Long, Hot Showers
Water conservation is the first thing that comes to mind when we think about shower sessions, but it also affects energy use. That hot water is made possible by either gas or electricity. It’s best to keep showers to 10 minutes or less. One way to track the time is with a 3-song playlist. When the third song kicks on you’ll know it’s about time to start drying off. Factoid: the average song length is about 4 minutes long.
Switch Out Those Energy Sucking Incandescent Light Bulbs
Even if you’re renting an apartment, one change you can make is replacing incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). It will cost a little money upfront, but you’ll use up to 80% less electricity. Make sure to keep the incandescent bulbs so you can take the LEDs and CFLs with you when you move out. They’ll last for up to 25,000 hours.
Hang More of Your Clothes to Dry
Clothes dryers are huge energy consumers. Even though they aren’t used on a daily basis, clothes dryers account for 4% of household energy use. That’s more than cooking appliances, clothes washers and dishwashers combined. The simple solution is to hang more clothes to dry so fewer loads go in the dryer. And try to avoid drying just a few things at a time whenever possible.
Paying your own utility bills during college? Compare electric and gas rates to find fixed rate plans and great customer service this semester. See if there are fixed rate Spark Energy plans offered near your campus!