Winter is coming — or for many communities, it's already here. As the cold sets in, the temperature on the thermostat gets pushed higher and higher to obtain that warm cozy feeling, which lasts until right around the moment the monthly electric or gas charges arrive.
With National Cut Your Energy Costs Day coming up on January 10th, here are 5 tips to share with your residents to help them save on energy costs and consumption as they settle in this winter:
1. Weatherproof your home
Check to see if areas around your windows and doors are sealed properly and not letting in a draft. You can address any issues by patching these areas with the appropriate caulk or weather stripping. To keep cold air from coming underneath exterior doors, buy or make your own door draft stoppers. Install a programmable thermostat to automate indoor temperature and account for heating or cooling rooms only when needed. Lastly, ensure attics, basements, walls, and floors have the appropriate amount of insulation installed.
2. Unplug unused devices and appliances
The toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, microwave, iron, fan, iPod speaker dock, and yes, even the TV are several of the devices and appliances that continue to draw power when turned off but still plugged in to a power outlet. The research is proven. Do yourself a favor, save the electricity and reduce your energy bill by unplugging any appliance or device that is not in use or in need of constant power.
3. Address Bathroom Fixtures and habits
Installing low-flow showerheads, low-flush toilets, and testing your toilets for leaks helps to reduce water consumption. Additionally, addressing your bathroom habits such as taking shorter showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving can save hundreds of gallons per month. In addition to saving water, you save the energy needed to heat the water to your desired temperature.
4. Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs
New energy-efficient lightbulbs such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) not only use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, but also can last years longer. You will pay a little more to make the switch from old to new bulbs, but you will soon recover the costs and more as you save money over the life of your new bulbs.
5. Use solar energy to power, heat, or cool your home
There are many benefits to using solar power in your home, and aside from cost-savings, solar is a renewable form of energy and one of the world's cleanest forms of energy. As the demand for solar energy has increased, the cost to invest in solar energy systems had dropped significantly - providing homeowners and businesses access to cleaner, more affordable energy. To help local governments reduce local barriers to solar by cutting red tape, the SolSmart program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, employs a team of national solar experts who work with your elected officials, city staff, and community to review and update local processes and programs, with the aim of improving and expanding local solar energy markets. The program nationally recognizes participating communities' local solar achievements by awarding a Gold, Silver, or Bronze designation. With over 100 communities joining the program so far, 29 communities have already achieved designation and received national recognition for making it easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to install solar.
Would your community benefit from a solar energy designation and technical assistance program? If so, click to learn more about SolSmart.
SolSmart is now accepting 2017 SolSmart Advisor Host Community applications. All applications must be submitted by January 31, 2017.