Electric cooperative members who made energy efficiency a New Year’s resolution can score success in 2013 by changing a few things at home.
“Saving energy does not have to cost a lot of money,” said Brian Sloboda, senior program manager at NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network. “There are a lot of simple things you can do that will begin to pay off in savings right away.”
1. LIGHTING: Replace incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent light bulbs. The newer CFLs are warmer in color and turn on more quickly.
2. HOME ENTERTAINMENT: Ask your cable or satellite television provider to replace older control boxes with newer Energy Star models. They may offer them free of charge to keep your business.
3. SEAL LEAKS: Adults can use a lighted stick of incense to detect drafts around doors and window frames. Any drafts will cause the smoke to blow, indicating there are leaks that need to be sealed with caulk or insulation.
4. KEY THE NUMBERS: Programmable thermostats should be set according to household activity. Allow temperatures to fall seven or eight degrees when the family is away, and adjust the timing so the furnace comes on a few minutes before they return.
5. PHANTOM LOADS: Unplug cellular phone chargers and video game consoles when they are not in use. Many devices with transformers consume energy whenever they are plugged in.
6. USE NATURAL LIGHT: During the summer, keep curtains or blinds closed. In winter, open them during the day for more light and the warmth from the sun to save on both lighting and heating.
7. LOOK UP: Add more attic insulation or put a radiant barrier underneath the roof to keep your home more comfortable year-round.
8. UPDATED ROOFING: In warmer climates, consider a cool roof when it’s time to replace roofing. They reflect some of the sun’s rays and can reduce cooling costs in Sun Belt states.
9. RATIONAL REFRIGERATION: Allow a single refrigerator to handle your needs. Keeping older ones connected in the basement or garage adds to your energy use.
10. TREE PLANTING: Add a deciduous tree on the sunny side of your home and be patient. Within a few years, it will provide summer shade to help cool your home and shed its leaves in autumn, so you can reap the benefits of warm sunlight in winter.
“Each of these ideas will reduce your energy use,” said Sloboda. “That’s savings you can count on throughout the year.”
Source: ECT.coop, a publication of the NRECA