Small Steps Yield Energy Savings and Lower Bills with These Tips from NYSERDA
The new year is the perfect time to evaluate your home’s energy usage and make a stronger commitment to lead a more energy-efficient lifestyle. Even though it’s not easy to keep the personal resolutions you pledge year to year, you can take some very simple measures to reduce home energy consumption all year long without a lot of effort. Once you make them a habit, saving energy will be second nature.
Stay on track toward greater energy savings with these helpful tips from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA):
Watch out for build up: One of the easiest things to do is remove build-up in your clothes dryer’s lint trap before every load. Removing built up lint not only reduces the risk of fire but also will increase drying efficiency and could save you up to $34 per year. Also, consider consolidating loads, drying loads with similar fabrics together.
Keep your bills out of hot water: Identify-and fix-any water leaks in your home. Leaky faucets and showerheads, for example, can be a big source of waste. Repairing these fixtures can save you up to $100 per year. And, don’t forget to inspect your hot water heater for leakage. At a rate of one drip per second, your home can waste gallons of water in a short time, costing you money.
Seal the gaps: Air leaks can occur in some unusual and out-of-the-way places-crawl spaces, attics, overhangs, garages, porches and other architectural features, to name a few. Be sure to have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR(r) contractor investigate these problem areas and make recommendations on how to make your home’s openings air-tight. By sealing and insulating your home, you could increase your home’s energy efficiency by up to 20 percent.
Improve air flow: Rearranging your home furnishings can lead to year-round benefits. Organize your furniture and rugs away from registers and heating return vents. For optimal comfort, make sure the connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls and ceiling.
Turn it off: Make a conscious effort to turn off electronics or appliances when they are not in use. If no one is watching TV-turn it off. Try using a power strip as a central “turn off” point for easy access in powering down multiple pieces of equipment-such as a DVD player, a Blu-RayTM player and a television-all at once. Once you develop this simple habit, you’ll achieve savings the rest of the year.
Count on the small things: When possible, use the smaller appliances in your kitchen, like your microwave and toaster oven, especially when heating or re-heating small portions. You could use 80 percent less energy using these appliances rather than a conventional oven.
Clean and consolidate: Clean your refrigerator coils-located underneath and behind the appliance-and repair any loose seals. Dirty coils and loose seals make the refrigerator work harder, causing it to use more energy. If you have a spare refrigerator that you only use occasionally, consider unplugging it or having it recycled. Your spare refrigeration may be costing you $18 a month!
Look for the star: If you are thinking about replacing electronics or appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These units have advanced features that improve energy efficiency. For more information on ENERGY STAR appliances, visit http://www.energystar.gov
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR(r): For more ways to save energy, ask an accredited Home Performance contractor to conduct a comprehensive home energy assessment, which is free for most New York homeowners. The contractor will discuss the energy improvements you can do in 2012 to save more on your utility bills, along with the incentives and financing available to make these improvements more affordable.
To find out how you can qualify for a free or reduced-cost whole-house energy assessment in New York State, go to http://nyserda.ny.gov/home-performance
Source: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.