Save Money by Saving Energy in the New Year
One common resolution at the start of the new year is to save money, and one way to save some green is by going green. The Energy Education Council shares a number of actions you can take to be more energy efficient and help keep more money in your pocket.
An energy audit is a good place to start. Contact a local home energy auditor to pinpoint exactly where your home is losing energy and what you can do to stop it. If you are more of a do-it-yourself type, you can conduct an energy audit yourself by making use of an online energy audit tool. Although this method is not as thorough as if done by a professional, it can still help you identify some of the easiest quick fixes and upgrades that can be done.
Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council says, “Some efficiency improvements are easy to accomplish, while others are more complex. Some take no money, and others a bit of cash. Some take no time at all, but others will take a while to complete. The bottom line is that when it’s all said and done, they add up to a more efficient home and lower utility bills.”
There are many ways to make your home a more efficient that do not cost a dime. The following are some of the adjustments you can make to your routines to boost efficiency:
Make sure the ceiling fan is rotating in the correct direction. For cold months, the fan should rotate in a clockwise direction, and for warmer months, the blades should rotate in a counterclockwise direction.
- Take advantage of window treatments. During the winter, open up curtains on sunny days to let the warm sunlight in. At night, make sure to close the curtains to help keep the heat inside. In the summer, keep your curtains closed to help prevent the outside heat from warming the house.
- Check the water heater to make sure the temperature is set to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When cooking, match the pot size to the burner size to help prevent heat from escaping needlessly. Also, do not unnecessarily open the door to the oven while cooking or baking. Heat escapes, and the oven will have to reheat.
- Only start the washing machine or the dish washer when loads are full.
- Turn off electronics and unplug chargers when they are not in use.
- If you are willing to spend a little money to save money, here are some low cost ways to boost your home’s efficiency that will quickly pay for themselves:
- Replace old incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient and longer-lasting CFL or LED bulbs.
- Install a programmable thermostat. This device automatically changes the temperature in your home, depending on how you program it. When done correctly, your house will be at a comfortable temperature when you return home or wake up.
- Replace furnace and air conditioning filters on a monthly basis.
- Seal air leaks by caulking cracks around windows and doors. Also seal gaps around plumbing penetrations and chimneys.
- Invest in low-flow showerheads to save water.
- Fix leaky faucets.
There are also options if you are looking for more of an energy efficient investment. These will cost more up front, but will pay for themselves over time:
- Upgrade an older furnace, HVAC system, water heater, and other large appliances to updated high-efficiency models.
- Invest in double-pane windows with low e-coating to reflect thermal radiation.
- Upgrade insulation in the attic, exterior walls, basement, and crawl spaces. Find out what level of insulation is recommended for your area at EnergySavers.gov.
For additional tips on how to be more energy efficient, visit EnergyEdCouncil.org.