Proven to Reduce Utility Costs
Start by Changing Personal Habits
Before implementing any actions
to reduce your energy consumption, document your past / current electrical usage so that you can make reasonable future projections. This process
takes minimal effort to complete, uses existing heating / cooling equipment and generates immediate $ savings.
At this point - NO new equipment is to be installed.
1. Collect data and Assess Energy Usage
. Collect recent electric utility invoices for each building. Most utility companies supply graphs of usage for the past 12-24 months and
calculate an average monthly usage. If your utility company bills quarterly, adjust data collection time periods. Register at www.intragroups.com
and use this free system to capture annual kWh usage per building.
2. Establish Energy Team and Benchmarks
. Assemble the people that will be reducing your energy usage (anyone who affects energy consumption) and share the energy usage data you
have collected. This data is the benchmark
for current and past usage.
Encourage each person to discuss how they / the group can contribute to saving grid-based electricity. Capture / update these energy
reduction ideas / action items in your www.intragroups.com
(group) E-Profile or whatever you are
using to track and communicate actions / savings.
3. Create Action Plans and Set Targets
. Identify Actions to be taken to reduce energy usage and set reasonable targets (kWh percent reduction) based on the level of commitment from the group, time of year, climate, special events such as vacations, trips, etc.
4. Implement Action Plan.
Start with the "low hanging fruit"-- items that can be implemented easily and at no / low cost. (See list below for ideas.)
5. Develop Communication Plan.
Periodically (weekly / monthly / quarterly / seasonally) discuss progress. Review and discuss new utility bill data soon after it is received.
6. Evaluate Progress and Revise Action Plan.
Analyze the new data and results of your actions. Set new targets and modify the action plan as appropriate. Update E-Profile
containing annual kWh usage with projects, ideas, research links, progress, etc.
7. Recognize Achievements.
Document and publicize savings to the group and others. Spread the word! If you can do it, so can your neighbors. These efforts benefit everyone, everywhere. Recognize key contributors. Celebrate success!
The is about the amount of electrical energy saved and is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) over a time period.
Cost is important but is a secondary measurement since the utility rate per kWh changes, often on an annual basis.
Lowering the number of klowatt-hours used / reducing grid-based electrical consumption is the true goal.
50+ FREE Energy Saving Tips
Simple Actions Reduce Energy Usage & Save $$$
COOLING & HEATING
- Set thermostats at 78º F in summer and 68º F in winter to realize a 3% to 5% kilowatt decrease.
- Ensure furniture, curtains and rugs don’t block the flow of air from vents and air registers.
- Maintain heating and cooling unit efficiency by changing / cleaning filters monthly.
- Clean dust from supply and return air grilles and heating outlets.
- Make sure the caulk and weather-stripping around your windows and doors is in good shape.
- Seal around wiring / plumbing penetrations. Caulk small holes. Use expanding foam for gaps
- Ensure ductwork is properly sealed.
Note: 78 / 68 degrees F are general guidelines. With adequate inside humidity in the winter (turnoff in summer) some of us feel comfortable at 64 with appropriate clothing. We know of a few hardy souls in Virginia who are happy at under 60 degree settings in winter! In summer it is quite easy to get used to 80 (less clothing of course).
In the summer
In the winter
- Keep curtains and shades closed especially on the south east and west sides of homes.
- Avoid using appliances that give off heat during the hottest times of the day (10am-6pm).
- Use ceiling / portable floor fans. This makes the air feel up to 6 degrees cooler.
- Keep plants and brush at least three feet away from outside units.
- Dressing to be cool allows the thermostat to be set a few degrees higher - swimsuits allowed!
- Open curtains and shades to let the sun warm your home naturally.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use.
- Dress warmly indoors as this allows thermostat to be set a few degrees lower.
REFRIGERATOR / FREEZER
- Turn down the water heater thermostat. 120ºF is adequate for most homes.
- Take shorter / cooler (especially in summer - adjust over time) showers.
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators and reduce water consumption by up to 50%.
- Install a water-heater timer and set to heat water 4 to 5 hours a day. This results in energy savings.
WASHER AND DRYER
- Ensure they are full and that the seals are in good condition (doors shut tight).
- Open and close doors quickly - decide what you want before opening.
- Avoid putting refrigerators or freezers in unconditioned spaces like garages.
- Keep refrigerator temperature between 37º and 40º F; Check with thermometer – adjust thermostat.
- Keep food away from the interior walls so cold air can circulate faster.
- Keep your refrigerator condenser coils clean. Clean them every six months (spring / fall).
- Wash clothes in warm or cold water and rinse them in cold water for most washes.
- Use hot water cycle less often with modern detergents - read labels on new brands.
- Wash a full washer load at a time - but do not overload.
- Adding a dry towel at the start of each cycle reduces drying cycle time by up to 50%.
- Hanging items outside to dry makes clothes last longer, eliminates need for summer dryer cycles.
- Wait until you have a full dryer load.
- Separate drying loads into heavy / lightweight items.
- Dry clothes in consecutive loads as heat is retained in-between loads.
- Clean the lint filter thoroughly after each load.
- Check the vent periodically to make certain there are no clogs.
- Do not dry clothes completely, hang inside to air dry.
- Take clothes out when slightly damp to reduce need for ironing . Saves energy and ironing.
- Washer and Dryer - Do NOT use during local peak electrical utility periods (varies by season / load) .
- Turn off / avoid the drying cycle if you do not need to dry dishes immediately.
- Wait until your dishwasher is full before using it.
- Do NOT always use - rinse “clean” items and let dry naturally - reduces frequency of use.
- Using smaller lamps over work areas such as desktops avoids need to light whole room.
- Turn off lights when you do not need them.
- Use motion sensors where practical.
- Use CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs. Note: Many do NOT work with dimmer switches and burn out prematurely, so be careful to buy the appropriate CFL for your use.
- Install solar-powered pathway lights for most exterior lighting / appearances / visibility.
- Turn-on exterior lights only when REALLY needed.
- Install motion sensors on some exterior strategically placed lights.
- This combination of lights gives the appearance of occupants being home even if they are not. Motion sensors cause a light to go on which may discourage
- Solar powered lights can be mounted on exterior walls or posts to increase illumination. They are inexpensive and use NO grid-based
electricity. They are lit during the evening and may fade out during the night when most of us are asleep.
- A dead giveaway that residents are away from home is exterior lights on during the day!
More ideas to save energy in any
Commercial, government, school or residence
- Search online (Google) for energy conservation, savings, usage, LEED ... for the latest information.
- Follow the ER-LI Process via existing www.intragroups.com Entities / E-Profiles Searches.
- Schedule a (reputable) professional energy audit where a residence is usually $400+, and commercial usually $1000+.
- Talk to neighbors / associates who live / work in similar buildings .
- Talk to other building occupants .
- Regardless of the process, to save energy, you must ACT and ACTIONS may vary based on the time of year.
- SPRING / SUMMER: Think about changes for next winter while prices for these services are the lowest (less demand) .
- FALL / WINTER: Implement changes for next summer - again, while prices for these services are the lowest.
For information, contact us at: community@ER-LI.com.