Energy-Saving Resolutions for 2014
It’s never too early to start thinking about your goals for the New Year. This season, after making your traditional pledges, consider adding a new one to your list: resolve to save energy and money by making your home more energy efficient.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has taken the challenge to reduce energy consumption by 10%. You can help reach that goal by taking simple steps that will help curb your own energy spending.
Resolution 1: Change Your Heating and Cooling Habits
The greatest source of energy use in the average home comes from heating and cooling. For quick fixes:
- Set your programmable thermostat as cool as comfortable in the winter and as warm as comfortable in the summer. An even simpler fix without sacrificing comfort is to adjust the settings for when you’re away from home or sleeping.
- Clean or replace the filters in your air conditioning unit once every few months to keep the system running efficiently and improve your indoor air quality.
- In the winter months: Open the shades to your southern-facing windows to allow natural sunlight and heat into the room. Close them at night to reduce chill.
- In the summer months: Keep the shades closed to block the sun’s heat.
- For long term fixes, consider replacing heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR models, especially if your unit is more than 12 years old. Replacing it could cut your cooling cuts by 30%!
Resolution 2: Fix Air Leaks
Reducing the drafts in your home can save you as much as 30 percent in energy costs in the upcoming year and will make your home more comfortable. The usual problem areas inside your home are windows, doors, outlets, baseboards, and electrical outlets. You can fix the leaks by caulking, weatherstripping and/or air sealing.
Resolution 3: Waste Less (Hot) Water
The average household spends between $400 and $600 per year on water heating, which is not surprising considering the water needed for washing machines, dishwashers and showers. But there are plenty of ways to reduce the energy you use on water heating.
- Fix leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes.
- Lower your hot water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Install a low-flow shower head.
- Insulate your hot water heater and the first six feet of pipes with insulator blankets.
- Use primarily cold water for your laundry and save the hot water for very dirty loads.
Resolution 4: Lighting
One of the best ways to save on energy is by switching your old incandescent light bulbs to LEDs or CFLs. Replacing just 15 traditional incandescent light bulbs can save you around $50 a year and more than $600 over the life of the bulb. Consider replacements for ceiling fixtures, outdoor lights and even floor and table lamps. Be sure to read the packaging to know which bulb functions best outdoors and which bulbs can be used in enclosed fixtures. In case you often forget to turn them off when you leave the room, grab a generic WeMo switch that allows you to turn devices on/off from your phone!
Resolution 5: Replace Your Old Appliances
Appliances including refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers have become much more energy efficient in recent years.
Though buying new appliances can be expensive in upfront costs, they will help you save money in the long run in reduced energy costs. There may be incentives or tax breaks available for some purchases. Check the incentives page to find out what’s available.
Following through on these resolutions will not only help you reduce your own energy waste and save money, but help Virginia achieve its resolution to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent.