by Public Information
More and more Jeffco residents are looking for ways to “go green,” and in today's economic climate, they are extra motivated because of the financial savings that can go along with it.
If the average Jeffco residential customer reduced home electricity use by 15 percent, the annual savings would be $80 in electricity costs, a 500-pound reduction in the amount of coal burned, and a decrease in CO2 emissions equal to the amount emitted by a car driven 1,400 miles. For more information, visit Xcel Energy's Web site for the Smart Energy Guide.
To help you get started, here are five easy tips for reducing the amount of energy you use (and pay for).
1. Turn off your computer at night
A recent Alliance to Save Energy study found that half of the 108 million office computers in the U.S. are not properly shut down at night. The result is $2.8 billion a year spent in unnecessary electric costs and emissions of about 20 million tons of carbon dioxide — roughly the equivalent of four million cars.
You can make shutting down your computer and peripherals easier by using a power strip/surge protector. When this equipment is not in use for extended periods, turn off the switch on the power strip to prevent them from drawing power even when shut off.
For more information visit:
The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy page
The Alliance to Save Energy Web site
2. Unplug electronics, turn off lights, use energy efficient lighting.
Electronics that are plugged in still draw some electricity when they are turned off (such as your cell phone charger, stereos and TVs). A typical home has about 20 of these devices and they are responsible for 5–10% of total household electricity use. Easily unplug electronics when not in use by plugging them into a power strip.
You can also save money and energy by turning off lights when you leave a room. Just one 75-watt bulb turned off for one extra hour a day can save $2.15 a year. Multiply that by several bulbs for several hours a day, and your savings start to add up. ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs are a great value. They use 75% less energy, last up to 10 times longer, and produce about 75% less heat than traditional incandescent models.
Installing compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs can save approximately $40 over the life of the bulb. Just a handful around the house and you could notice a difference in your energy bills. They cost a bit more, but you’ll change them less often and they produce little or no heat.
Install dimmers and motion sensors where possible. Dimmer switches can extend bulb life up to 20 times if dimmed to half the brightness.
And, finally, install motion detector lights for outdoor lighting. Motion detectors put light where you want it for brief periods of time to provide safety and security for your property.
For more information visit:
Xcel Energy's Web site for the Using Electricity at Home packet
3. Use a programmable thermostat, seal and insulate, check your air filter, plant trees and use passive solar.
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling, but you can save about $150 every year by using a programmable thermostat. And, if your home has central air conditioning, you can save $100 or more during the summer by raising your thermostat’s temperature from 72 to 78 degrees. Reduce thermostat temperature from 72 to 68 degrees during the heating season to save 5 percent on heating costs.
Sealing and insulating your home can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more.
Dirty air filters make your system work harder to keep you warm or cool. Check your air filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). Your central air conditioner’s condenser works more efficiently in a cooler environment. Provide shade around your air conditioner to reduce your cooling costs by nearly 3 percent.
Planting trees around your home can also provide shade and thus lower air-conditioning needs. Deciduous trees – those that produce leaves in the spring and lose them in the fall – shade your house from the sun during warmer days and let the sun warm your house on cooler days. Shading your home could save up to 8 percent on cooling costs.
Use passive solar heating on sunny days. Open drapes on south-facing windows when it is sunny. At night, close drapes to retain heat. Close drapes to provide insulation where windows receive no direct sunlight. Up to 15 percent of your heat can escape through unprotected windows.
For more information visit:
Energy Star's Web page on Heating and Cooling Efficiently
The National Association of Home Builders Web page on Top 10 Energy Wasters and Savers
Xcel Energy's brochure on 60 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Energy Bill
4. Use water more efficiently: run full loads, fix leaky faucets, and adjust water heaters.
A family of four uses approximately 400 gallons of water every day. By making just a few simple changes to use water more efficiently, you could save as much as $170 per year.
Run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Fix leaks -- a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day; and one drop per second from a leaky faucet wastes up to 400 gallons of water a year.
Set your water heater at 120 degrees. Overheating your water, beyond 120 degrees, can be wasteful and unsafe. By lowering your water temperature to 120 degrees or less, you can save up to $25 annually if you use an electric water heater ($18 annually if you use a gas water heater).
5. Set your refrigerator at the right temperature, clean coils and replace old appliances with energy-efficient products.
Your refrigerator should be set between 34 and 37 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees. These are the safest temperatures for food storage, and most refrigerators operate most efficiently at these settings.
Once a year, you should pull out your refrigerator and clean or dust the coils on the back. Clean coils help the compressor cool faster and run less frequently, which extends the life of your refrigerator and reduces energy use.
When purchasing appliances, cooling equipment, lighting or home electronics, choose energy-efficient products that will save you money in the long run and help to preserve our natural resources. Look for the ENERGY STAR and/or WaterSense labels on appliances, faucets, toilets and more.
To begin shopping for water-saving products and appliances visit:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense Web site
The Energy Star Web site
When it comes to saving energy, individual efforts really do add up. If you conserve energy by using less fuel, heat, light and water, then you are saving not just time and money, but also natural resources. These five tips should get you started in the right direction.
Posted by: Julie | Category: Energy Efficiency