January 10 is National Energy Savings Day. If you haven’t made a new year’s resolution yet, why not turn your good intentions toward energy savings in 2018?
Here are six ideas to get you started:
1. Shave energy from your commute
If you work close to home, try walking or riding a bike to work. If that’s not feasible, find a friend to share the ride and carpool, or try mass transportation. Exercise and companionship will get your day off to a better start.
2. Turn down the heat
Move the thermostat a few degrees, and you may not notice the difference–until your energy bill arrives, that is! Turn the heat down when you are sleeping or when you leave the house for the day. A programmable thermostat makes it easy to manage indoor temps without having to think about it. Try a similar pattern for air conditioning.
3. Use less water
Saving water not only saves energy but also reduces your energy and water bill. It takes energy for your water company to purify water and pump it to your home or building. Sewage treatment uses energy, too. Since electricity or gas is usually used to heat water, you’ll save energy if you use less hot water.
4. Update your appliances
Do you know that your everyday appliances are the prime culprits in energy usage? Older appliances are far less efficient than newer ones. For example, older washing machines use about double the water of a newer model. A high-efficiency dishwater can use half the water and 40% less electricity than an older model. The same goes for the refrigerator where a high-efficiency model can consume 40% less energy, roughly equivalent to $150/year in cost savings. If you can’t afford to upgrade right now, improve maintenance by keeping machines clean and dust-free and check seals to make sure they are tight.
5. Replace light bulbs
Your choice of light bulb is critical to saving energy and costs. Switch out incandescent bulbs for CFL or LED bulbs. It takes 21 incandescent bulbs to get 25,000 hours of light. The same can be had for three CFL bulbs or one LED bulb. At 12 cents per kilowatt hour, the cost savings of $180 for the incandescent bulb to $42 for the CFL to $30 for the LED is significant. To get started, replace the bulbs in the lights that you use most often.
6. Unplug your electronics
If you can’t unplug them, re-plug all of your electronics (TV, computers, home theater system, cable box, docking station, etc.) into an auto-shut-off power strip. Not only will this protect your devices from a power surge, but it will also prevent “phantom electricity” from feeding their clocks and timers. The strip will turn off your electronics when they are fully charged or not in use. You’ll see the difference in your electricity bill.
Let National Energy Savings Day motivate you to take action.
There are many small changes you can begin today and build on tomorrow. Over time, small changes add up to big savings in energy and costs.
Allison Levin is vice president of energy services for Cost Control Associates, Inc. She has been with the company 22 years and achieved industry certification as a carbon reduction manager in 2015. She received her MST from SUNY Plattsburgh and her BA in mathematics from Boston University. Learn more.