As the third in a series of blogs during Energy Awareness Month, this post explores simple energy savings tips for your home. Since 1991, the federal government has recognized October as Energy Awareness Month. SACE is taking this opportunity to focus on how we can all reduce energy use in our everyday lives.
Before we get into energy saving tips, let’s test your energy IQ with this quiz from Energy Star.
Since yearly energy bills for an average single family home total $2,200, reducing your energy consumption by 10 percent can save $220 a year. The following tips should enable you to easily cut back on energy without impacting the comfort you experience in your home.
Replace your light bulbs with CFLs
Lighting alone takes up 12 percent of energy use in the average home. A CFL bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent one. This is a quick and easy way to cut up to 8 percent of your energy bill. For the average home, this can save up to $176 a year. And CFL bulbs will last at least six years, meaning after the initial replacement cost, you’ll be sitting pretty for years to come.
Many people are also switching to LED lights in their homes, which use even less energy than CFLs, but are more expensive to purchase.
Stop heating water when it’s not needed
Heating water accounts for almost 13 percent of your electricity bill. To save in this area, turn your water heater down to 120 degrees (trust me it will still be hot enough for showers and washing dishes). Many new water heaters have a vacation setting, or you can simply turn down the temperature when you’re away for more than a day. No need to continuously heat water when you’re not around. We should all work to remember to turn down our water heaters, similar to the way we turn down the heater when we leave for a trip during the winter months.
Installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can cut water heating costs and water use by up to 50 percent each, and save on both your electric and water bill.
And when it makes sense, wash clothes in cold water. Around 90 percent of the energy washing machines consume is in the form of hot water used during the wash cycle.
Adjust your thermostat
By changing thermostat settings to five degrees higher during the summer, we can save 20 percent on cooling costs. Similar savings can be achieved by lowering the thermostat five degrees in the winter. If you have a programmable thermostat, schedule it to adjust at times when you are not regularly home.
Computers are energy vampires
Many of us leave our computers on 24 hours a day without realizing that they suck energy at an alarming rate. Computers’ “sleep mode” settings reduce energy consumption by about 90 percent when the machines aren’t being used.
By consuming less energy, we can reduce the amount of fossil fuels that are burned in order to power our homes and consequently help eliminate harmful emissions from power plants that pollute our water and air, and lead to negative health impacts. Unfortunately the Southeast is one of the most inefficient regions of the country, wasting a significant amount of energy that is generated primarily from like coal and nuclear plants. You can learn more about energy efficiency programs in the Southeast at SACE’s website.
A recent webinar hosted by SACE, “Green Choices: Saving You Money & Energy” is another great resource for saving on your energy bills. The webinar includes 20 great tips that will lead to 20 years of savings.