Energy Conservation

All of us use energy every day for transportation, cooking, entertainment, maintaining the temperature of our homes, etc.  It takes a lot of energy to keep up with our modern lives.  Whether you're looking to decrease your carbon footprint or simply save some money on your monthly bills, there are many things we can do to reduce the amount of energy we are using in our homes.

We have put together a list of tips that can help you reduce the amount of energy you are using in your home and help keep some of your hard earned money in your wallet.

Links

http://energy.utah.gov/funding-­incentives/utility-­incentives
https://www.rockymountainpower.net/wattsmart
http://www.thermwise.com/
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=kids.kids_index


Lighting

  • Buy energy Star light fixtures and lamps. They use 1⁄4 of the energy of traditional fixtures
  • Get the right bulb. Dimmer switches, three-­way sockets, and other specialty functions need specialty CFL’s
  • Keep light bulbs clean. Dust can cut a bulb’s brightness by 25%
  • Choose compact fluorescent (CFL) or light­ emitting diode (LED) light bulbs.
  • They use less energy than incandescent bulbs and last longer
  • Keep lights off in unoccupied rooms and get in the habit of turning off the light every time you leave a room for more than a few minutes
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). CFL’s draw about 1⁄2 of the energy of an incandescent bulb and last 7 to 10 times longer
  • Install dimmers in areas where they make sense, such as the dining room and bedroom. The amount you dim equals your energy saved. Lights dimmed 15% reduce energy consumption up to 15%
  • When working at a desk or workbench, use task lighting. Other lights in the room could be turned off or dimmed
  • Let the light in­ open window blinds instead of turning on lights
  • Use motion­-sensing light switches in certain rooms. They turn themselves off after a short period of time if you forget
  • Remove unnecessary bulbs in track and recessed lighting. Positioned correctly, three bulbs can sometimes provide nearly the same light as four
  • Use low­-wattage bulbs when you can. Bright lights are often not needed in hallways or closets
  • Use a nightlight in the bathroom or hallway instead of leaving a light on at night

Kitchen

  • Choose and Energy Star model when buying a new fridge. It will be 15% more efficient than regular models
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. It costs the same amount to wash one dish as it does to wash a full load
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle
  • If washing by hand, rinse dishes in groups and don’t leave the water running
  • Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. They heat faster than metal pans.
  • Keep the inside of your microwave clean. It will cook your food more efficiently
  • Use the smallest pans possible. It takes less energy to heat them
  • Use lids. They help to cook the food quicker by keeping the steam in the pot or pan
  • Clean the burner pans on your stove. When clean, they reflect heat back up to pots and pans
  • Keep conventional oven preheating to a minimum. Only preheat if you are baking bread or pastries
  • Don’t peek. You lose heat every time you open the door or lift the lid
  • Keep racks clear. Foil on oven shelves blocks heat and costs money

Refrigerator

  • Cover and wrap food. Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture, which makes the fridge work harder
  • Check the temperature. Set your fridge temperature between 36° F and 38° F, and set your freezer between 0° F and 5° F
  • Defrost manual­ defrost refrigerators. Frost makes these models less efficient and spoils food
  • Check the door seals on your fridge. Here’s how: close the door on a dollar bill, and then try to pull it out. If it slides out easily, replace the seal
  • Unplug your second fridge, if you have one. It can cost between $100 and $200 a year to operate
  • Decide what you want from the refrigerator before you open the door. Every second the door is open, cool air is escaping

Laundry

  • Wash and dry only full loads. The washing machine and dryer use roughly the same amount of water and energy to wash one item or a full load
  • Wash with cold water. You only need to use hot water for very dirty laundry. Choose an Energy Star washing machine and cut utility bills by $50 per year. Over the life of the machine, that’s a total of $550
  • Clean the dryer lint filter after every load
  • Use the moisture sensor feature on your dryer, if there is one.
  • This way, you won’t over dry your clothes

Living Room

  • Weather­ strip your windows. Windows are a common location for air leaks, so seal them with weather ­stripping or caulk
  • Your electronics can draw energy even when they’re off, so plug them into a power strip and switch it off at night
  • Use the sleep mode on your TV. An average house can use 60% less energy to power electronics just by using the sleep mode
  • Unplug power adapters and chargers. Even when your cell phone isn’t attached, a plugged-in charger still draws energy

Appliances

  • Always buy Energy Star appliances. They are more efficient than other appliances, and they cost less to run
  • Think about shape. Fridges with freezers on top are most efficient. Front loading washers and more efficient than top loaders
  • Get the right size appliance. Only choose an extra ­large dishwasher or fridge if your family is big enough to need it
  • Look for high­-efficiency features, such as soil­-sensing detectors on dishwashers and automatic shutoffs on clothes dryers
  • Use small appliances (i.e. microwave, crock pot) instead of the oven when possible
  • When buying a new appliance check the Energy Guide label to see approximately how much per year it costs to operate

Seasonal

  • Use a programmable thermostat. Program it to turn down the heat two hours before you go to bed and to increase it before you wake up
  • In winter, turn down the thermostat by 5° F. Every degree lower saves about 2% on your heating bill. If you’re chilly, put on a sweater
  • In summer, use a fan before turning on the air conditioner. The air will feel 4° cooler, and you’ll save energy
  • Choose and Energy Star furnace with a high fuel utilization efficiency ratio, and a central AC system with a seasonal efficiency ratio of a t least 14.5
  • Dry clothes outside in good weather. Sunshine is free

Transportation

  • Walk or ride your bike when you can. You’ll save gas and stay healthy
  • Keep your car tires fully inflated to improve gas mileage
  • Carpool or use public transportation when you can
  • Recycle used motor oil at service stations or auto shops
  • Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline

Conserve Water

  • Drink filtered water instead of bottled water. You’ll conserve water and reduce waste
  • Fix leaks. Leaky toilets and faucets waste thousands of gallons of water a year
  • Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth or shave. You’ll save 8 gallons of water every day
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Use the shortest cycle that gets the dishes clean
  • Install low-­flow showerheads and fixtures. The most water efficient products have the Water­Sense label
  • Take shorter showers
  • Install a low-­flow aerator on your faucet
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the fridge. You won’t have to run the tap every time you want a drink of cold water
  • Run the dishwasher instead of washing by hand. It uses less hot water and could save you $40 a year
  • Scrape, don’t rinse. There’s no need to pre-­rinse plates before putting them in the dishwasher. Just scrape off any excess food

Reduce Waste

  • Bring your own bag. Reusable bags are great for everyday shopping
  • Avoid disposable plates, cups, and utensils. They’re wasteful and can’t be recycled
  • Use rechargeable batteries. One rechargeable battery can replace up to 1000 single­ use batteries

Cooling

  • The higher you set the thermostat, the less it will operate unnecessarily
  • Use a programmable thermostat. You only need your air conditioner or swamp cooler on when you are home.
  • Set timers to come on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive home
  • Plant deciduous trees to shade your home’s walls, windows and roof in the summer
  • Install a ceiling fan to circulate air above the area where you spend most of your time. You’ll feel just as cool under a ceiling fan when it’s 82°F as you would in 77°F still air
  • Run exhaust fans when you shower or cook to vent warm air
  • Don’t block window air conditioners. Make sure no objects are leaning on or directly in the path of the air flowing in or out
  • Make sure your home has the appropriate amount of insulation in walls, attics, and crawl spaces. Insulation is just as important in the summer since it helps keep warm air outside
  • Seal air­ conditioning ducts and insulate those that run through unconditioned spaces
  • Have a professional inspect and tune­up your central air system or swamp cooler to help save on operating costs and extend the life of the system. A check­up is recommended every year for heat pumps and every five years for other systems
  • Keep air conditioners and swamp coolers clean. Air conditioner filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month during use. Swamp cooler filters should be cleaned or replaced every year. Make sure your floats and pumps are operating properly and that the water is distributed evenly over the filters

Your Utility Bill

  • Learn how to read and understand the utility bill
  • Pay your bill each month
  • Always call the utility company if you can’t pay the bill in full
  • Get on level payment plans with utility companies
  • Apply for weatherization assistance
  • Watch Rocky Mountain Energy Capers at www.rockymountainpower.net/caper

Heating

  • Change my furnace filter every 2-­3 months
  • Set the water heater to medium
  • Wash clothes in cold water. You’ll save money because you’re not paying to heat the water
  • Place window film on drafty windows to keep heat in and cold out
  • Open blinds and curtains to let warm sun in during the day
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed at night to keep heat in
  • Insulate water pipes
  • Insulate hot water heater
  • Refrain from using space heaters
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 degrees. Each degree saves about 2% on your heating bill
  • Have a professional tune up and inspect your furnace. This can save up to 10% on your heating costs
  • Cover your waterbed. It may use as much electricity as your refrigerator. To save more than 30% of that cost, make the bed and cover it with a comforter when it is not in use
  • Make sure heat can get into the room. Keep furniture and drapes from blocking radiators, heat registers, and return vents.
  • Never use the stove to heat your home. It’s expensive and very dangerous
  • If you are going to use a space heater, use a model that meets the latest safety standards and place them in an open area

Lawn and Garden/Outdoors

  • Only water your lawn when needed. If you leave footprints when you walk on the grass, it’s time to water
  • Check the weather. There’s no reason to water if it’s going to rain
  • Check your aim. The sprinkler should water your lawn, not the sidewalk on the house
  • Use a drip hose instead. Drop hoses deliver water directly to a plant’s roots
  • Let grass grow. Longer grass absorbs more sunlight, making your lawn stronger and thicker
  • Choose native plants. They’re adapted to your local climate, and if you live in a dry area, they may need less water
  • Check your garden hose for leaks
  • Apply mulch to your soil. It helps retain moisture so you don’t have to water as often. It can also help prevent weeds from popping up
  • Reduce grassy areas by planting trees and shrubs. Lawns require a large amount of water.
  • Adding more vegetation and by reducing grassy areas will save you water
  • Use a bucket to wash your car. You’ll save 150 gallons of water every time you don’t use the hose
  • Don’t hose down the driveway. Use a broom instead
  • Install porous walkways and patios. They keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff

Kids

  • Turn off the radio, TV, computer, and video games when you stop using them.
  • Set your video game console to auto­ shutdown mode so it powers down when no one is playing
  • Unplug your cell phone and MP3 player when they’re done charging so they don’t waste energy
  • Take short showers. They use less hot water than baths
  • Check for problems Mom and Dad haven’t seen. Look for leaks and dropping faucets. Drips also waste energy used to heat the water
  • Share rides with friends to after­school activities
  • Decide what you want from the fridge before opening the door
  • If you’re cold, try wearing a sweater or sweatshirt instead of turning up the thermostat

Safety

  • Invest in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Remember to replace the batteries twice a year
  • Have your home tested for radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that in high concentrations can lead to lung cancer. It exists naturally in the soil and can enter your home through basement cracks, joints, and gaps.
  • Check wires for signs of wear. Replace them if they are cracked or frayed.
  • Use plastic safety caps in electrical outlets. Especially important when small children live in your home
  • Clear the area around your heating system. The system needs air to burn fuel. Never store combustibles near a furnace
  • Keep everyone away from downed wires and call 911 if there is a fallen power line near your home
  • Never leave an engine running in an attached garage. This includes snow blowers and lawn mowers. Don’t even do it if the garage door is open
  • Don’t overload outlets by plugging too many appliances into one outlet

Phantom/Vampire Energy

  • Phantom/Vampire energy sucks energy when you aren't looking. Many gadgets, electronic devices and appliances draw power even when they are turned off, just by being plugged in. This can really add up over time.
  • Examples of objects that draw energy
  • Cell phones, digital cameras, power tools, televisions, computer monitors, DVD players, microwaves, TV's etc.
  • All together, phantom/vampire energy can account for about 10 percent of an individuals electricity use.
  • To see the phantom energy draw of equipment that you may have in your workplace, here's a list of the average watts per hour used by various electronics
    • Treadmill – 5.6 watts
    • Fax machine – 5.2 watts
    • Printer – 4.3 watts
    • Compact stereo - ­4.3 watts
    • Tool charger – 4.2 watts
    • Battery charger – 2.6 watts
    • TV, CRT (26 – 31 inches) – 1.3 watts
    • Desktop computer – 2.4 watts
    • Modem – 1.5 watts
    • Scanner – 1.5 watts
    • Monitor – 1.2 watts
    • Laptop computers – 0.7 watts
    • DVD player – 0.4 watts
  • A simple solution to combating phantom/vampire energy is to simply unplug the objects when you are through using them.
  • Another option is to plug the objects into a power strip and after you turn them off, simply flip the switch to cut off the supply of electricity.

 

 

For more information, click below.