To reduce energy consumption and save on your energy bills, here are some energy saving tips:
- Avoid using electric baseboard heat or portable space heaters. Electric heat can cost three times as much as oil and twice as much as liquid propane gas (LPG). With the exception of cold-climate heat pumps, which move heat more efficiently than electric resistance, electric heat should be avoided.
- Weatherize by checking insulation levels and seal air leaks. Schedule a seasonal tune-up on boilers and furnaces. Close off rooms that are not in use, turn down thermostat settings, and/or consider purchasing a "set-back thermostat" which can be programmed to automatically control your heat.
- Minimize use of air conditioning and use fans and natural or movable shades where possible. Set dehumidifiers to acceptable humidity levels (45-65% will often do the trick) but no higher.
- Reduce domestic hot water use by installing low flow shower heads and aerators. Electric hot water use can account for 30-40 percent of household electrical usage. Check water heater temperature settings. Set them just high enough to kill bacteria (recommendations vary, but generally about 122 degrees F). If your water tank is located in a cold space, be sure to wrap the tank
- Turn off lights when they are not in use. After heat and domestic hot water, lighting is the next highest consumer of energy. Install LED bulbs throughout your home. Cost of LED bulbs has fallen and a large variety of options are available.
- Save in the laundry: Use cold water washer settings whenever possible. A large portion of energy use in the laundry is tied to heating the water. Activate the high-speed spin cycle, if available, less water in the wash means less time in the dryer. Hang clothes to dry if possible. When you have to replace these appliances consult with Efficiency Vermont. They can point you to models with the lowest water and energy use, and may offer financial incentives.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances. Look for “Energy Star” appliances and appliances with the lowest “Energy Guide” ratings. Often there are rebate incentives available for these.
- Consolidate refrigeration. One unit that is full is better than two that are partially filled. Check and replace worn door gaskets and clean the grills and coils regularly. Refrigeration can account for as much as 18 percent of consumers’ usage. If the refrigerator was manufactured before 1990, you should consider a newer energy-efficient model.
- Use smart energy strips to shut down power to televisions, stereos, computers, and monitors when they are not in use. Many appliances have a standby or "phantom" use that adds to energy usage in the home.
Monitor your monthly, daily and hourly home energy use on-line with VEC’s Smart Hub application: https://vermontelectric.smarthub.coop/Login.html
Consider having a professional home energy auditor visit your home and provide guidance on where to concentrate your efforts. Efficiency Vermont is a great resource to members: 1-888-921-5990 or visit them online at www.efficiencyvermont.com.