Sunday, November 13, 2011

Save Your Money & Energy


My husband and I have done many of the things listed on here as we're huge supporters in saving energy and just being more efficient.  We even had someone come in and walk through the house to do a summary of cost savings and so forth.  It was really money well spent and the neatest thing!  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ad Council recently launched an education campaign to help consumers save money by saving energy. Last week, I got a chance to conference with Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, as she represented the DOE. Dr. Hogan spoke to us about how saving energy can help save homeowners money! That was a nice reminder for me, especially since the winter months draw near. She further noted more specifically on how people can save up to 20% of their annual energy bill which would amount to $200-$400 per year on average. Dr. Hogan challenged homeowners to consider ’what else you can be doing with that money’?

Just like all of our other areas in savings, I think it is important to take it to the next level. I think we should all take a moment to read about these new resources so that we too can save on our energy bill annually. Not to mention that saving energy is environmentally friendly.

Here are some of the questions asked by the bloggers and answers given by Dr. Hogan:

As the weather begins to change (for the colder), thermostat use changes as well. Are there basic guiding principles about usage and placement of the thermostat?

Wise thermostat use can save a significant amount of money. Making adjustments of a few degrees while away from home will reduce the use of heating & cooling systems and can save $100, or more, on energy bills. This is an important point to counter misperceptions that it costs more money to get rooms back to preferred comfort level when they are not maintained at that desired temperature. Thermostat location is also important. For people who can move their thermostats, it is best to position them where they can reflect the true temperature of your home, avoiding direct sunlight and close proximity to heating/cooling vents. For more tips go to www.energysavers.gov/tips.

How important is it to identify leaks in your house and how can this be done?

Simply put, leaks equate to spending (not saving) money. It is important to realize that leaks can take various forms. They can be openings to the outside through wall cracks, bad seals, around windows and doors, or cracks in your ventilation system ducts. Some leaks are easily identified by simply using your hand to find changes in temperatures near common problem areas. Others may be more complex to identify and need tools that can display thermal views of a room. While some leaks can be easily fixed with basic caulking, others may require professional help. A quick online search for local energy auditors will help, but also explore your local energy provider, as some of them offer these services.

How important is lighting in saving money by saving energy; and can we expect to see further innovation in the products available?

Lighting is a significant part of this equation. It is important to understand that 90% of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs deliver is in the form of heat, not light. Energy efficient bulbs deliver more of what we need (light), which also delivers an energy savings up to 75% over the life of a bulb. Though most energy efficient bulbs do cost a little more to purchase, on average you will still save approximately $50 a year when switching 15 bulbs. Another helpful step is a new package label that will be unveiled next year. Consumers will be able see the actual light output of each bulb, called “lumens” to help inform their selection. You can find out all about this new label system and how to benefit at www.energysavers.gov/lighting.

How can our children help in the energy saving effort?

Kids can be great examples for the rest of the family when it comes to saving energy–and reminders that ‘little ones’ can do ‘big things.’ Children can certainly do basic things, like turn off the lights. And since electronic devices have become common in children’s lives, they should also learn about energy saving features for those devices. Computers and other devices can go into standby mode for short breaks. And of course, it’s even better to turn off them off when they aren’t in use. Smart power strips can help you turn off many electronics at once and save more.

Is there a true and clear advantage to buying Energy Star® products?

Energy Star® products are developed and tested to meet certain requirements that will use less energy and thus pass along savings to you. When it is time to replace your appliances or other products, look for the Energy Star® label.

More about Energy Star® can be found at http://www.energysavers.gov/ and http://www.energystar.gov/.

For further reading please visit here to download the Energy Savers Booklet: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home.

How do you save?

Thanks Jackie over at My Southern Oregon Mommy for writing our call up!

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