New Year, New Energy Savings

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Unlike some New Year’s resolutions, saving energy and money at home is easy to stick with.

Virginia Energy Sense’s resolution this year — and every year — is to help you save energy and money without sacrificing your comfort. Here are several easy resolutions you can make to be more energy efficient and save some money in the new year:

  • Hit the off switch. Turn off lights, computers, and other equipment when they’re not in use. Leaving them on leads to higher electric bills.
  • Pull the plug. Unplug electronics and small appliances that aren’t in use. You can use power strips to cluster electronics together on one source and either switch off or unplug the master plug to shut them all off.
  • Put your electronics to bed. Set sleep modes for your electronics such as computers, printers, and televisions so they conserve energy. Even better, turn off or unplug your electronics completely if you are not planning to use them for an extended period.
  • Become an LED-only household. Replace your old-school incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs. LEDs use up to 90% less energy, saving you money on your electric bill, and can last up to 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs, meaning you have to buy and change bulbs far less frequently.
  • Customize your thermostat settings. Invest in a smart thermostat that will learn your behavior and will lower or raise the temperature based on your habits — saving you up to $150 a year on your energy bill. In addition, you’ll be able to control your home’s temperature from a mobile app.
  • Keep your indoor air clean. Run your heating and cooling system efficiently by having it serviced once a year and by cleaning or changing your filters monthly or as needed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing air filters regularly can reduce your system’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
  • Plan to replace old appliances with ENERGY STAR upgrades. ENERGY STAR certified products have the highest energy-efficiency ratings — meaning you could see long-term savings by upgrading to these appliances when your appliances need to be replaced.
  • Get more efficient in the kitchen. Clean the refrigerator coils twice a year, replace refrigerator door gaskets if the door’s seals are not tight enough, use your slow cooker more, and air-dry dishes instead of running heated dry on your dishwasher.
  • Be handy. Create a “draft-ometer” by taping a piece of plastic wrap to a pencil and using it to test your doors and windows for drafts. Then shut down any drafts you find with weatherstripping. And if you’re looking for a larger project, consider conducting a do-it-yourself home energy audit.
  • Don’t forget rebates and incentives. Look into government and energy provider programs to apply for rebates, tax credits, and more!

For more on saving energy at home, check out our tips for homeowners and renters.