Interested in saving energy but not sure where to start? Try this list of ten bright ideas for saving and conserving energy. Even small changes can make a big difference.
- Replace your light bulbs
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) are 70% more efficient then incandescent bulbs and at about $2 a piece the payback is a few months. To see how much you can save check out the Light Bulb Energy Saver.
- Insulate your attic
Attics can be great sources of heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Payback will vary depending on your region, but you'll usually recover the cost within two years. For more information on insulating your attic, click here.
Weatherizing your home means sealing where air can infiltrate such as doors, windows and places where pipes enter the home. The cost of this varies depending on the age and construction of you home. This is where your local Touchstone Energy cooperative can be a great help. See this weatherization video for energy saving tips.
- Programmable thermostats
The average home will spend over $1,000 a year on heating and cooling. Programmable thermostats adjust the temperature in winter and in summer as well as during unoccupied hours. At a cost of $50 - $150 the payback can be seen in well under a year. For more information see the Energy Star web site on programmable thermostats.
- Maintain your HVAC system
Your heating and cooling system equipment runs best when properly maintained. Change your filters on a regular basis. Having your HVAC system serviced on an annual basis will ensure that your system is not costing you more then it should, as well as increasing the life of the system. Using a NATE certified technician is recommended.
Check around the house to see if devices are unnecessarily plugged in. Cell phones, iPod chargers and appliances are still drawing power when not in use. Be aware that plasma TVs and entertainment systems are drawing power even when they are off. Also switching computers off or using the computer’s power management settings to allow standby mode when it’s not needed. A computer can use as much electricity as a new refrigerator.
- Conduct your own energy audit
Do you really need two refrigerators? Is there a fish tank with no fish? Is your house so hot in winter that you need to wear a Hawaiian shirt? Walk around your house to see if there are any large appliances you don’t use or areas that are especially drafty. You might discover a lot of savings on your own. For more information on do-it-yourself energy audits, click here.
- Replace your single pane windows
Upgrading to more energy efficient windows can help control temperature and air infiltration in your home. This is probably one of the more costly upgrades you can do but depending on the age of your windows and climate, the payback may be just a few years. For more information, click here.
- Save with the stimulus package
Homeowners can take advantage of the efficiency tax credit of up to $1,500, or 30 percent, of the cost for new energy upgrades. This includes weatherization activities as well as installation of efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Learn more.
- Contact your local Touchstone Energy Electric Cooperative.
Many electric cooperatives offer energy audits and rebates on the purchase of new more efficient appliances. You might be surprised at the services your electric cooperative has to offer. Checking with your electric cooperative is a great place to start saving.