ENERGY SAVING TIPS
It is common to feel sticker shocked when you first receive your energy bill at the start of winter and/or summer. In order to keep your business or home warm during the winter and cool during summer, your HVAC system may run frequently. Which in turn can drive your energy bill through the roof. Immediately you may become more conscious of all the things in your office or home that consumes energy and may start thinking about ways to reduce your energy costs. The only way to do this is by reducing your energy consumption. There are several ways that you can save on energy use that will cost you very little or nothing at all. Whether you’re looking to reduce energy at your home or business, below are 5 steps that can help you save.
Turn Down the Temperature
Turning down your heat or turning up you air conditioning temperature by 1 degree can reduce your energy use. If you haven’t already, update your thermostat to one that is programmable. Programmable thermostats can be fairly inexpensive and your return on investment is almost immediate. It is recommended to keep your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and lower it by 2-3 degrees during non-business hours. Doing this alone can reduce the amount of energy used by 10 percent.
Eliminate Idle Power or Vampire Power
Turning off or putting electronics in standby mode isn’t enough to reduce energy consumption. Most electronics will continue to draw electricity when in sleep or standby mode. Before you leave the office for the day, unplug computers, copy machines, microwaves and other appliances and electronics that aren’t being used. To make it easy, use a power strip for your electronics and appliances. This way you only have 1 switch to flip to unplug all of your vampire power devices. According to a report from the National Resource Defense Council, consumers could save $8 billion annually if idle power was eliminated. The amount of energy used on idle power devices equals to about 50 power plants.
Look for gaps around windows and doors. Use caulk to seal small air leaks. Check you duct work, especially around the joints. Air can leak from your ducts and can cause wasted energy. Sealing air leaks can save you 30% on your energy costs. Use window treatments that can block the sun and heat loss. If you have large air gaps around your windows and doors, you may want to consider replacing them and if that is not an option use plastic wrap kits for your windows. The plastic wrap may not look appealing, but it will help impede air leaks.
Tune up HVAC Units
In addition to checking your duct work for leaks, get your HVAC system tuned up annually. This will keep your unit from using unnecessary energy and keep your unit working efficiently. Change furnace filters every 3 months. Clogged furnace filters prevent air flow, causing your unit to work harder. Check your filters monthly during peak months, they will get dirty quicker since your system runs more frequently.
Switch the Lights
Energy can be saved not only by flipping the switch to turn off lights, but also by switching to energy star light bulbs. There are several types of energy star lights available, however, LED lights use the least amount of energy and can last up to 25 times longer. There is an initial investment when switching to LED lighting, but the long-term savings makes it well worth it. To see a full list of energy saving lights, visit the Department of Energy‘s website.
Many energy companies, such as DTE Energy, will perform an energy audit on your home or business per your request. They can provide your company with suggestions on ways to reduce energy consumption. Switching your heating and cooling system to Geothermal and installing solar panels are other ways to save energy. Though there is a large financial commitment initially, the long term energy savings may be worthwhile. Your local energy company may also offer incentives for upgrading to energy star level appliances and light bulbs, or by upgrading to other sustainable energy systems. Contact your local energy provider to see what energy saving programs are available for you.