Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Source: Benton REA – Ruralite August 2009 

10 ways you can be part of the solution

Here are 10 no-cost or low-cost strategies to help you to reduce your carbon footprint, conserve electricity and save money:

  • Wash watch. Approximately 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Reduce that cost b using less water and washing with cooler temperatures. The same goes for showers and baths.
  • Reduce hot water waste. Hot water accounts for 13 percent to 17 percent of a family’s annual energy use. Setting the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees, and installing low-flow faucets and shower heads can cut water heating costs.
  • Air dry dishes. Instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle, let your dishes dry naturally.
  • Unplug unused or underused appliances and electronics. that includes the old pop and beer refrigerator in the garage, as well as battery chargers, shredders and other electronics that constantly consume energy in standby mode.
  • Make conservation a habit. Turn off computers, monitors, televisions and lights every time you leave the room for more than a few minutes.
  • Take control of your thermostat. Heating and cooling account for the majority of energy use in the average American home. Even a temperature change of 1 degree can add up to significant annual savings, reduce the setting to as low as you are comfortable in the winter and as high as comfortable in the summer. Also, programmable thermostats can help save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by simply adjusting temperature settings while you sleep.
  • Clean or replace filters. A dirty filters airflow and can increase a system’s power consumption by 10 percent or more, Change filters once a month during peak heating and cooling seasons.
  • Seal heating ducts. A heating system can lose up to 60 percent of its heated air – either through heat loss or leaks–before it reaches the registers if ducts are not sealed and insulated.
  • Plus cracks and holes. Perhaps the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can tackle yourself are caulking, sealing and weatherstripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside.
  • Switch to CFLs. Compact fluorescent lights are 70 percent more efficient than incandescent lights. CFLs cost more, but they can quickly recoup the extra expense due to their high efficiency and long life. Get an even faster rate of return on a CFL investment by using them in light fixtures that are on for longer periods of time.

Sources: US Department of Energy; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Energy Star.


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