Save while you Sleep

We all have bedtime routines. For the little ones it might consist of a “midnight” snack, a story, and checking under the bed for monsters. Once you reach your teenage years it likely consists of a last minute attempt to finish all of your homework and convincing your parents to let you stay up later. When adulthood hits, it’s all we can do to stay awake and have a couple hours to ourselves.

Thinking of adding just a few more things onto your to-do list at night may sound impossible, but doing so just might end up saving you money…something we think is well worth it! 

Mother reading a bedtime story to her son.


Unplug, unplug, unplug.

Did you know 75% of the energy consumed by electronics is consumed when they are turned off, but left plugged in? Vampire energy is something that can haunt every pocketbook. Read the story about why I unplug overnight.

Turn off all lights and fans in unoccupied rooms.

This one is so easy it’s often overlooked but you never know who snuck into the laundry room and left the light on. If you like to leave an outdoor light on overnight, consider switching to a motion sensored or solar light.

Light switch


Check faucets and shower heads for leaks.

Did you know fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save about 10 percent on water bills. Before shrugging it off consider how much of your annual energy use is consumed by water heating.

How we use energy throughout the year.

If the A/C or heat is on double check all windows are locked and shut.

Paying for air to escape outside? Yeah, that doesn’t sound good to us either. Closing blinds and curtains can also helps keep conditioned air in and outside air out!

Dollar bills blowing out a window.

Adjust the thermostat.

In the winter turn the heat down (colder) and add an extra blanket on your bed. In the summer turn up the air (warmer) and sleep with only a sheet on. Adjusting your thermostat for around 8 hours can save around 1% for each degree difference. There is a misconception that by adjusting the thermostat your system will have to work harder to heat or cool when it’s turned back up or down. That’s not true. See what the US Department of Energy says:

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning.  

Posted by: Brenna Reed. Brenna is the Sustainability Educator for the City of Columbia and is coordinating the City’s competitive efforts in the Georgetown University Energy Prize opens in a new window. Inspiration for this post came from The Bedtime Routine opens in a new window from The Simple Dollar.