Energy Tips

You can save money on your next electric bill by following these simple tips. Some are easy as changing a light bulb, while others require a little more time or investment.

 

Below are several bullet point tips. Following those tips is a detailed description of the energy savings. You can also use our Together We Save applications to learn more. These online tools can give you an in-depth analysis of your energy use and show you even more ways to save.

Lighting:

Save around $5 a year for every incandescent bulb you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb.

Turn off decorative outdoor natural gas lamps. Just eight such lamps use enough energy to heat an entire home for one winter.

Turn off lights when not in use. Install compact fluorescent lights in lieu of incandescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting produces four times as much light as incandescent bulbs while using less energy (KWH), plus they last 10 to 12 times longer. For example, if you use one (1) 100-watt standard incandescent bulb for 8 hours per day at 365 days per year at $.06 per kWh it would cost $17.52 per year. However, if you used one (1) 32-watt compact fluorescent for 8 hours per day at 365 days per year at $0.06 per kWh it would cost $5.60 per year. So, if you multiply that by fifteen (15) incandescent bulbs operating under these same circumstances it would cost an individual $262.80 per year versus only $84.00 per year for fifteen (15) 32-watt compact fluorescent lamps.

Use low watt LED Night Lights instead of standard incandescent night lights. The LED night lights are considerably more efficient and cooler to the touch than their incandescent counterparts, while lasting 10 times longer.

HVAC:

Turn down your thermostat. You will save as much as 2% on your energy costs for every degree you adjust your thermostat.

Change furnace filters on a monthly basis. By replacing the filters on a monthly basis you can save as much as 5% on heating bills. On a $100 per month electric bill you're looking at $5.00 per month savings or $60 per year from simply changing your filters monthly.

Install a programmable thermostat to set different temperatures during the day and night. In the summer months program it to cool down at night and set higher during the day when nobody is home. In the winter months, set it for the opposite. Keep it cooler during the day while residents are gone, and warm it up again in the evening until bedtime. Consumers can expect to save about 2% on heating bills for every degree thermostats are turned down.

Geothermal heat pumps (GHP) are the most efficient of all heating and cooling systems. They use 25% to 50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. According to the EPA, GHP's can reduce energy consumption and corresponding emissions up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating with standard air-conditioning equipment.

Do you wonder how Geothermal heat pumps work so well? The simple explanation is, ground temperatures range from 45 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit depending on latitude. Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than air in the summer. The GHP takes advantage of this natural occurrence by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.

Appliances:

You spend about $50 a year on energy to cook food. Consider a cool pasta salad or other cold item for dinner and save. In the summer months, your savings are two-fold because you are not adding heat to your home that you have to compensate for with added air conditioning.

Keep that fridge door closed! You spend around $64 a year on refrigeration.

Appliances and home electronics can contribute up to 35 percent of your electric bill.

You can use this formula to estimate an appliance's energy use:

{Wattage x Hours Used Per Day/ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (KWH) consumption}

1 kilowatt (kW) = 1,000 Watts

Some interesting numbers:

  • Refrigeration costs around $64 per year to operate (1,137 kWh per year)
  • Cooking costs around $50 per year to operate (898 kWh per year)
  • Washer costs around $4 per year to operate (78 kWh per year)
  • Dryer costs around $34 per year to operate (611 kWh per year)
  • Computer costs around $25 per year to operate (460 kWh per year)
  • VCR-DVD costs around $7 per year to operate (117 kWh per year)
  • Plasma TV costs around $104 per year to operate (1037 kWh per year)
  • LCD TV cost around $45 per year to operate (453 kWh per year)
  • Standard 35 inch picture tube cost $28 per year to operate (287kWh per year)

Water Heaters:

Lower your thermostat. A 10-degree reduction in your setting will save about 5% on your water heating costs. About 15% of your energy use goes to water heating.

Shorten your shower! About 40% of your water heating costs is for showers.

Depending on your usage, water heaters can contribute up to 10 to 15 percent of your electric bill. Good habits can reduce your electric bill with little or no investment when it comes to water heaters.

Insulate the storage tank of you water heater. Be careful to avoid covering the thermostat. Review your instruction manual before attempting this project.

Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot & cold water pipes connected to the water heater.

Air dry your dishes instead of using your dishwashers drying cycle.

Other Water Heater Energy Facts:

40% of energy consumption is used in the shower/bath
26% of energy consumption is used by the clothes washer
14 % of energy consumption is used by the dishwasher
11% of energy consumption is used in the sink

Windows/Air Leaks:

The typical home loses over 25% of its heat through windows. Since even modern windows insulate less than a wall, in general an energy efficient home in heating dominated climates should have few windows on the north, east, and west exposures.

In cooling climates, its important to select east, west, and south facing windows with low solar heat gain coefficients (these block solar heat gains).

In the winter months, close your curtains and shades at night to help keep the cold air outside and open them during the day to help on heating the home. In the summer months, be sure to close your curtains on the south- and –west facing windows during the day.

Consider installing white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.

Good air-sealing alone may reduce the utility costs by as much as 50% when compared to other houses of the same type and age.

Make a list of obvious air leaks (drafts). The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year. Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling. Also, other easy places to detect air leaks is electrical outlets, switch plates, weather stripping around doors, attic hatches, fireplace dampers, and wall/window mounted air conditioners.

Check insulation levels in the attic and basement. These are two of the biggest bangs for your buck. One foot of insulation in the attic is recommended for maximum cost effectiveness.

In the basement check to see if insulation exists below the upstairs flooring or around basement walls in order to eliminate the basement zone from the heated portion of the home. If no insulation exists, heat loss can be considerable because there is no barrier between the main floor living area and below ground temperatures.

 

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