Lowering your energy use will not only help protect the environment but also help your wallet stay “green.” Whether you choose to diversify your energy consumption by incorporating some renewable sources of energy — such as solar energy or thermal energy — or by purchasing energy-saving devices, we have a list of tips for you that will help you lower your utility bills each month!
How to calculate energy use
It is always best to start by knowing how much energy you currently use. This will allow you to see how much each independent appliance adds to your bill, and in this way you can change your habits for more energy savings. Here’s a great resource that will allow you to compute the energy consumption for each appliance in your home.
How to save electricity
More than 30% of your energy bill will be your heating or cooling energy usage, so this is a major area where alternative energy resources or energy-saving devices can save you significant amounts of money! Here are just a few quick and easy tips:
- Install a programmable thermostat. It can allow you to program your heating/cooling temperature and energy usage according to your daily routine. Here’s a great resource that can help you learn more about programmable thermostats as well as how to buy and install them.
- Change your air filter regularly.
- Make sure your heating and cooling ducts are properly insulated.
- Insulate your water heater and set the water temperature to 120 degrees instead of the regular 140. It is estimated that each 10 degree reduction in water temperature can amount to a savings of 3% to 5% in energy costs.
- Purchase energy saving light bulbs.
- Install energy- efficient shower heads.
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How to get paid for being energy efficient
Choosing to purchase energy-efficient appliances and heating systems can help you save money in the long run due to lower utility bills, but they can also get you money back in the short run. Energy Star appliances and upgrades that make your home more energy-efficient qualify you for federal tax credits.
The credits apply differently depending on the type of appliance or upgrade, and some expire starting in December 2010, while others expire as late as December 2016, so you do need to read up on this subject.
You can learn more about these tax credits on the Energy Star web page, designed by the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency.