While people have been home during the pandemic, less commuting and travel have reduced global environmental issues. For example, fish finally returned to the canals of Venice as fewer tourists visited the city. However, while staying at home may be helping to save the planet, it’s also likely hiking up your energy bill. And, going into 2021 energy bills in the U.S. are expected to increase by about three percent.

To help you save money and the environment, here are a few easy energy-saving habits for the new year.

Unplug appliances when not in use

Believe it or not but plugging in your toaster all day can use up unnecessary energy in your home. In fact, standby power can add up to 10 percent of your household’s electricity usage. You can unplug appliances when you’re not using them to conserve energy and reduce your bill. This is especially useful if you do end up traveling or leaving home for a bit.

Use natural light

Take advantage of natural sunlight with a south-facing window or skylight, so that you don’t have to leave your lights on all the time. However, note that large windows can also lead to high heating or cooling costs, so you’ll have to balance what energy you save from electricity with air conditioning or heating. You can also try setting a timer for your lights so they go on and off automatically during the day depending on when you get natural light.

Use Window Coverings

If you do have a south-facing window for natural light, but need to balance that with conserving the AC, then try strategic window coverings. Cover your window with blinds or drapes that save you from allowing too much heat in through the window, while still giving you a beautiful view and some natural light.

Take Shorter Showers

Shortening your shower is one of the most effective energy-saving habits because hot water is expensive. Even if you only cut your showers by a minute, it could save you $15 a year and if everyone in the household starts cutting their shower time, it will really add up.

Be Smart with Laundry

You can save a ton of money and energy with smart laundry decisions. For instance, you can hang dry some laundry rather than using the dryer, which could save you up to $65 a year. Or, try washing your laundry in cold water to reduce energy usage. If you do love that dryer-feel and smell, then try tossing in a towel with your load to reduce drying time. But, at the very least be sure to only run full loads of laundry.

Conclusion

You can save a ton of money and conserve energy by simply changing up a few habits. Whether in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or laundry room there are ways to save energy in every part of the house. Make it a new year’s resolution to apply one of these easy energy-saving habits for the new year and start saving today. Along with these energy-saving tips, make sure to schedule regular maintenance on your electrical system to ensure your safety throughout the entire year.