October 2nd is National Energy Efficiency Day—a day to be reminded of the easy ways we can all reduce our energy use and save money. By being as efficient as possible with the energy we use, we help our pocketbooks and the environment. Remember: the cleanest, most efficient energy is the energy we never have to generate.
In honor of Energy Efficiency Day, here are 10 simple ways to reduce energy waste, at home and at work:
1. Make the switch to LED
LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually. Buy LEDs in 2019 and you can earn a rebate from United Power for every bulb.
2. Seal Those Leaks
On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. In fact, all the little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.
Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.
3. Heat and Cool Efficiently
Don’t waste money heating or cooling an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and in colder weather schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and increase when you are returning home or waking-up. In warm weather, schedule the thermostat to raise the temperature when you are away or asleep, and lower it at other times.
Tip: Follow the U.S. Department of Energy recommended temperatures and be energy-efficient all year.
4. Maintain Your HVAC System
Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.
Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.
5. Look for the ENERGY STAR® Label
ENERGY STAR® labeled windows can cut heating costs by as much as 30% compared to single-pane windows, while increasing indoor comfort and lessening fading of home furnishings.
Tip: If you are undertaking a major home remodel or new build, consider installing ENERGY STAR® qualified HVAC equipment and appliances. United Power offers rebates on the purchase of new ENERGY STAR® air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines.
6. Turn the Electronics Off
That sounds easy, but too often we forget and leave electronics plugged in that are not in use.
Tip: Turn off unnecessary/idle lights, appliances and electronics. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once, and new Smart Powerstrips have timers and app controls to make it even easier. (Sometimes the simplest things are really effective!)
7. Winter Tip: Invite the Sun In
It feels like the sun abandons us during the winter, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it during the shorter days.
Tip: Open curtains/shade on your west-and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and save 2%-12%.
8. Summer Tip: Close Blinds and Shades
This tip is easy to forget, but vital: excess sunlight will make it harder to keep your home cool and comfortable.
Tip: During the day, keep your blinds and shades closed to prevent warm air from building up in your home.
9. Clean Your Clothing Efficiently
That’s an easy one. A washing machine spends 90% of its energy to heat water.
Tip: Consider using cold water instead. In addition, try to run full loads as much as possible, because the machine uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of the load size. Also, consider air-drying.
10. Clean Up Your Dishes Efficiently
If there’s one thing that has the power to unite people, it’s food. And with food comes dishes to clean. Fear not – there really is a more efficient way to use your dishwasher.
Tip: Avoid the “rinse hold” cycle and skip heated drying – simply open the door at the end of the washing cycle and let the dishes air dry!