Top 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home
Making your home more energy efficient is the cleanest, cheapest, and safest way to meet your energy needs while also creating local jobs! What’s not to like?
Potential Savings: The average Philadelphia household spends $1,500 for space and water heating. In addition, the same household uses 700 kWh of electricity per year on lighting, appliances, electronics and space cooling, spending approximately $1,260. Energy experts agree that 20% savings is very realistic for the average household. That means you could be keeping $500 in your pocket every year, to spend on your kids’ education, to pay those medical bills, or any number of priorities.
Wasted energy is money lying around. These 10 steps will help you convert that waste into real savings you can put in your pocket every month.
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat. For every degree you set the temperature back, you save 2% on your heating bill. For example, if you keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day, and set it back to 55 for 8 hours at night, you’ll save 8.5% on your heating bill. This year, the average heating bill is expected to be $1500. Your savings would be $127! If you set it back for another 8 hours during the day when everyone is out of the house, you’ll double your savings to over $255!
2. Seal those Leaky Windows. Use caulk, rope caulk, and plastic storm windows to seal out the cold air. Tighten your window locks. Repair all broken windows. Replace all broken glass. Reglaze any panes that need new glazing.
3. Seal Drafts around Doors. Use V-seal, caulk, door sweeps, and other weatherstripping to provide a tightly sealed door. www.caulkyourhome.com for some “do it yourself tips” on how to caulk your home and eliminate heat loss.
4. Seal up penetrations, leaks, and holes in your basement using expanding foam or insulation stuffed into plastic bags. It is critically important to air seal BEFORE you insulate.
Check out Energy Star’s step by step tips on air sealing your basement. www.energystar.gov/campaign/home
5. Insulate your attic. If you have R-10 or less, add insulation up to R-38. Make sure to air seal before you insulate.
6. Buy Energy Star appliances and electronics when replacing your refrigerator, heater, air conditioner or other appliances.
7. Replace all lighting with high efficiency LEDs or CFLs. LEDs use only 1/10th as much energy as an old incandescent bulb. Compact fluorescents (cfls) use 1/4th as much.
8. Install radiator reflectors and bleed your radiators to get rid of air trapped in the radiators or if you have a forced air system, replace your furnace air filter at least once a year.
9. Water Heating: Turn your water heater down to 110 degrees or “Normal” install an insulating jacket and install pipe wrap on the first 5 feet of pipe leaving your water heater. Visit: www.energy.gov/energysaver/projectsenergy.gov/energysaver/projects for directions on how to turn the temperature down on your water heater.
10. Apply a Cool Roof coating to reduce your air conditioning bill by 20%. Cool roof coatings can last for 10 years or more, and can be recoated, extending the life of your roof while reducing the urban heat island effect.
Bonus Step: Get Your Rebates!
Both PGW and PECO provide energy efficiency programs for all types of customers. These programs provide rebates to improve lighting, mechanical systems, air sealing, insulation levels and other upgrades. Both utilities also provide good energy audit tools and access to your own data to help you plan your energy efficiency improvement projects. Check their websites and get started. The sooner you start, the more you save!
If you’re interested in a career in energy efficiency, contact ECA’s Training Center at 215-609-1457, or https://www.ecasavesenergy.org/training.
Double Bonus Step: Buy Renewable Energy: Solar, wind, hydro, biomass and other forms of renewable energy to support up to 100% of your energy use. Philly has a number of sources of renewable electricity like the Energy Coop (https://theenergy.coop/), with more options at: http://www.oca.state.pa.us/Industry/Electric/elecomp/ElectricGuides.htm