Traditionally, the New Year is a time for making resolutions to improve your life. Two perennial favorites are dieting and saving money. Homeowners can combine these two by going on an energy diet. By adopting these easy, low-cost strategies, you can save on energy costs all year long. Let the 10 simple resolutions that follow, serve as your guideline for saving energy year-round and living a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Get an energy checkup. Do not put it off any longer; a home energy assessment by a qualified auditor is one of the best ways to find energy-saving opportunities and lower your utility costs. For more information, see Energy 101: Home Energy Checkup.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting. Conventional incandescent bulbs that do not meet new federal energy-efficiency regulations will be slowly disappearing from store shelves. Now is a great time to switch to high-performance compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) lights.
- Plug energy leaks. Install weather-stripping around doors and windows to ensure that they are properly sealed. Check for and seal air leaks in the attic, basement, and around plumbing and wiring access points.
- Conserve hot water. Maintain the temperature of your water heater at 120ºF or lower, and take quick showers instead of baths. Low-flow shower heads and aerated faucets can increase savings.
- Adjust temperatures. Properly adjust the thermostat when your home is unoccupied to avoid heating or cooling an empty house. A programmable thermostat can add convenience and optimize savings.
- Heat and cool naturally.Take advantage of natural sunlight and window shading to provide no-cost heating and cooling.
- Wait for a full load. Save energy by only running the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.
- Air dry the laundry. Clothes dryers are big energy users; air dry clothing whenever possible.
- Power down. Turn off or unplug computers, battery chargers, or other electronic equipment when they are not in use.
- Focus on energy efficiency. Whenever possible, replace older appliances and equipment with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR rated products.
It is no secret that New Year’s resolutions can quickly go by the wayside. To help you stay on track, set goals that are specific and measurable. How do you measure your progress? Simply compare your monthly energy bill with those of previous years. The money that you save should provide enough incentive to keep you going all year long. Interested in how technology can help you save energy and save money? Go to http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/myhome for information on a variety of energy efficiency programs.