Because a kilowatt saved is a penny earned.
Actually, the average cost of 1 KW of electricity in the US as of September 2009 was 12.6¢. And while this figure doesn’t seem very large, all those cents add up when you consider that an average household consumes more than 34,000 KWH of electricity annually, including about 1200 KWH/Year to run each refrigerator and even more to run a plasma screen TV. And when you add in the natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, and wood used to heat houses, run hot water tanks, and operate ovens and other appliances, that’s even more energy consumed and more ways for you to begin cutting your energy costs.
In celebration of National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, which is Sunday, January 10th, FAS has provided a brief list of easy steps you can take to cut your energy use, energy costs, and carbon footprint. While this list is by no means comprehensive, use it as a starting point to think about how you can begin cutting your energy consumption today, this month, and over this coming year. Why not make your New Years resolution to consume less energy in your home? And as you implement this resolution, we welcome your input into the best ways you have found to reduce your energy consumption and costs.
What you can do today:
-Set your thermostat down to 55 degrees or less at night and when you’re away from the house.
– Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and door that have gaps or where the seam is not adequately sealed. You can also use a removable caulk to seal windows that you will use in the summer—when the weather warms up, you can just peel off the strip of caulk.
-Reduce “vampire power” in your house by unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use (especially electronics that stay in “stand by” mode such as TVs and computer).
-Visit the Home Energy Saver, an online do-it-yourself energy audit tool that offers advice on how to save energy in your home. Find it at: http://hes.lbl.gov/hes/.
What you can do this month:
-Upgrade to an Energy Star-rated programmable thermostat if you don’t have one. Many local utilities and governments will provide and install a free programmable thermostat or will offer a subsidy or tax credits for installing one.
-Have a blower door test done to see where your house is leaking energy. Many utility companies and some local/municipal governments will offer free or subsidized blower door tests.
What you can do this year:
-Based on the results of your blower door test, add and/or upgrade your house’s insulation. Insulating around your ducts, in your attic, and in the basement or crawlspace especially is both highly effective and low in cost.
-If it’s time to upgrade your HVAC system, hot water heater, major appliances, or roof, look for Energy Star certified products, which can be found at: www.energystar.gov. Note that not all Energy Star products are equal and make sure you compare to find those products with the greatest efficiency and lowest operating cost. Don’t forget to look for state and local tax credits!