You’ve probably heard a lot about energy conservation for years and years, and if you’re anything like me, you might have figured you were pretty limited in the actual amount of energy you and your family can actually conserve. But the truth is, there are literally hundreds of ways to save power, especially in these cold winter months, and that power savings benefits both your wallet and the environment.
Now when we were living in California, we started making a concerted effort to buy modern, energy-efficient appliances and bring them with us to Western New York. Energy efficient appliances are one of the best ways to cut your footprint and your monthly energy bill.
Here’s a good way to do a quick audit of your home electronics: go through your home and if there’s anything that plugs in or has a switch and it’s older than ten years, there’s probably a much more energy efficient device available. Work your way from major appliances like washing machines and refrigerators to televisions and down to lightbulbs and gadgets.
National Fuel even offers customers in New York a Conservation Incentive Program that offers rebates for installing specific appliances and equipment. Your monthly cut in energy costs along with these rebates allow for new items to quickly pay for themselves.
Plus, these benefits apply to both residential homes and businesses!
There are plenty of other outside-the-box energy-cutting techniques that we have been using at home this winter. On top of setting our thermostat a bit lower and wearing an extra layer, we have discovered that our master bedroom has the best ventilation from our furnace and the best weather sealing, so we maintain a cool comfortable 65 degrees for that room, even if the rest of our home is colder.
National Fuel recommends setting your home thermostat to 65-70 degrees during the winter and 58 when gone. By turning your thermostat back 10%-15% for eight hours per day, you can cut your annual heating bills by as much as 10% per year.
Next on our list is a smart “learning” thermostat so that these changes will become automatic. A more thorough approach is to audit your home’s HVAC system and windows and doors for drafts and leakage. Weather stripping, insulation and high quality windows all help keep the warm air inside your home or business.
Lastly, let’s talk about the real hot water that can get your energy bill into figurative hot water. Set your tank to 120 degrees and be sure to maximize your laundry and dishes – full loads whenever possible. Fox can wait another week to wear his favorite “soft pants” to school again. Another upgrade we made was a more efficient shower head in our main bathrooms. Now it feels like Niagara every time I shower without having to divert the actual falls from nearby.
For more tips, tricks and information on the Conservation Incentive Program available to NYS customers, be sure to visit NationalFuelForThought.com.
What are you doing at your home or business to save money and energy this winter?
Do you have any other unique strategies?