What better way to start the new year than to resolve to conserve energy and save on electricity bills. The U.S. Energy Department has put together a series of energy saving tips so you can improve your energy usage in 2014.
1. Install and set a programmable thermostat. You could save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort.
2. Use sunlight to your advantage. The sun’s rays can contribute heat in the winter but force air conditioners and fans to work harder — and use more energy — in the summer. During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home. During warmer months, use light-colored window shades or blinds to reflect heat back outside, keeping your home cooler and more efficient. Using natural lighting effectively will also reduce the need to use artificial light.
3. When replacing appliances or purchasing electronics, look for ENERGY STAR appliances, fans and electronics. Your home’s appliances and electronics account for close to 20 percent of your energy bills. Using ENERGY STAR® certified products — which incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-15 percent less energy and water than standard models — throughout your home could save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the products. For example, ENERGY STAR clothes washers use about 40 percent less energy than conventional clothes washers while reducing water bills. ENERGY STAR washers also require less detergent and are gentler on clothes, saving you money on clothing expenses.
4. Choose energy-saving lighting. About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs. By just replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LEDs.
5. Use an electronic power strip for your electronic equipment. Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called energy vampires, these devices cost families about $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. And be sure to unplug your chargers — they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.
6. Reduce energy for water heating. Water heating is a large energy expense in your home, accounting for about 14-18 percent of your utility bills. By taking low-cost steps, you can reduce your water heating bills. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Install low-flow showerheads or temperature-sensitive shower valves. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, you should wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.
7. Hire a professional to maintain your heating and cooling system. Arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician. This includes checking the airflow over the coil, testing for the correct fluid (refrigerant) level, checking the combustion process and heat exchanger are operating safely, and ensuring proper air-flow to each room. In addition, you should clean the air filters in your heating and cooling system once a month, and replace them regularly.
8. Consult a home performance contractor to achieve large savings. There is a growing industry of professionals who are qualified to make recommendations to homeowners on how to improve the overall energy efficiency of their homes. These professional energy assessors will do a comprehensive energy audit of your whole house using special tools — such as a blower door test and an infrared camera to locate air leaks — to measure home energy efficiency.
The holiday season is upon us and boy, can it get costly! To help out with your energy bill this month, we’ve listed 8 energy saving tips for the holidays. Via Yahoo
Switch to LED lights – Purchase LED Christmas lights for your indoor and outdoor displays. These lights are more energy efficient and can last up to 20 years! Although more expensive initially, LED lights cost less to use and last longer than traditional lights.
Use a timer – Outdoor lights and decorative displays are accidently left on frequently. But, leaving them on all day long can quickly run up the electric bill. This year, plug all your outdoor electrical products into a convenient timer. They’ll turn on and off on their own!
Reflect instead of illuminate – Don’t add more strands of lights to your tree. Instead, get the same effect by using mirrors. The reflection will help emphasize the lights you have, thereby doubling the ‘WOW’ factor. Best of all, you don’t have to run up the electric bill.
Avoid the oven – Instead of cooking everything in the oven, consider the energy saving alternatives. A slow cooker, microwave oven, roaster oven, rotisserie, or even stovetop cooking will cost considerably less.
Wash by hand – Get the kids in on the holiday clean up, and have them wash the dishes by hand instead of running the dishwasher. This is a simple way to lower energy costs, although the kids may not like it.
Temperature control – Find a comfortable temperature for the house and stick with it. During the day, a temperature of 68 is recommended, while at night, it’s advised to go even lower. A programmable thermostat can be set to adjust the temperature between day and night for you.
Batteries to the rescue! – If you like the look a lit house from the street, but are afraid of a high energy bill, consider battery operated options. Flameless candles and battery operated window displays look festive, but won’t add a thing to your electric bill.
Change your filter – Change your furnace filter to lower energy costs this holiday. A clogged filter makes it difficult for the furnace to run properly, and can pollute the air inside your home. A new filter won’t cost much and is easy to replace. Plus it will make your furnace work like a charm.
Eight Mississippi universities will share in a $725,000 Department of Energy grant to MDA to develop programs to reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2020. The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Wednesday it will add $150,000 to the program over three years. State officials say energy-saving ideas developed at the schools will be passed along amongst all the universities and other state agencies.The Department of Energy is spending $7.9 million to help 13 states cut energy costs.