Week Three: Take it Home! Conserve energy in your home and feel good about saving both energy and your money!
Think through your thermostat
- For every 1˚ you lower your heat set point, or raise your air conditioning set point, you save 3% in energy – and costs. Push your standard comfort zone and adjust your thermostat by a degree or two.
- Don’t use energy and money when you are not home to enjoy the effect! If you usually have your heat set at 71, try lowering it to 68 when you leave the house for work. This small adjustment will save you 9% on energy use – and utility bills – during the time you are out. Do the same before you go to bed and you’ll see savings for more than half the day.
- If you just cannot stand the idea of coming home to a chilly (or in the summer, hot) house, install a programmable thermostat. These allow you to schedule the temperature changes, so your heat can go down when you leave for work and come back up before you arrive home.
- If you have two zones on your heating/cooling – take advantage! Make sure your temperature settings are right for when each zone is actually being used.
Secure your borders
- Take a close look at your windows and doors. Is there any space between the frame and the window pane or door? You can lose a lot of heat/AC to what might look like a relatively small gap. Local hardware stores have many options for easy, inexpensive weather stripping that will make a big difference.
- When you are running heat/air conditioning, make sure doors and windows are closed.
- Use exhaust fans only when you need them to clear moisture, odors, steam or smoke.
- Only run dishwashers/ washing machines when full.
- Default to “warm” or “cold” cycles in the washing machine. Save “hot” for only the really gross loads.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer before every use. This not only increases the efficiency, it decreases the risk of fire.
- Shorten your shower. You’ll save water AND the energy used for heating the water. Start by setting a timer for 8 minutes, the average shower time in the US, and decrease daily until you find your max efficiency.
- Replace incandescent and CFL bulbs with LED options. Check out https://www.energystar.gov/products/ask-the-expert/lighting-made-easy for information on savings, choosing the right “color” for the look you want, and more.
- In the habit of leaving lights on around the house just to see that cozy glow in your peripheral vision? Try weaning yourself off this habit one empty room at a time. Have a hall lamp you just cannot do without? Replace this bulb with an LED today.
- Rethink your outdoor lighting. Do you really need to leave a front and back door light on through the evening? If you want safety lighting for unexpected guests, solar powered pathway lighting, available at local hardware stores, can be a good option.
Spend to Save
- If you have to make appliance upgrades, look for Energy Star rated options.
- Other improvements, such as adding insulation or switching out an old hot water heater for a tank-less model, require an up front cost but will save you money—sometimes a lot of money—over the long haul. Factor in that return on investment when you making big home spending decisions.