Green Living: Energy
For many people energy bills are a large portion of their monthly budget. Whether the energy source is gas, electricity or even propane, there are several things you can do to help reduce energy consumption and lower costs. Consider the following action steps, which range from small do-it-yourself projects to replacement of major appliances with Energy Star® certified models, to help reduce your energy consumption.
Heating and Cooling
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doorframes.
- Use caulk or spray foam to seal any holes where pipes, cables or vents enter or exit your home.
- Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or lower.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Check your system’s air filters often and replace on a regular schedule.
- Replace your furnace and/or air conditioner with a high efficiency model that is appropriately sized for your home.
Use Energy Star® certified fixtures with CFL or LED bulbs, which use a fraction of the electricity as incandescent bulbs and last many times longer.
Plant appropriately sized trees, shrubs and bushes around your home to provide shade from the summer sun, wind breaks, and dead air spaces along the foundation.
Phantom Energy Loss
You may have heard the terms “phantom energy loss” or “standby power” or even “vampire energy”. This describes the power used by chargers, appliances and other electrical items when left plugged in but not actively being used at the time. Examples include leaving your phone charger plugged in after your phone is fully charged or leaving other seldom used appliances, particularly those with digital screens, plugged in.
Are you thinking that this accounts for only a very small portion of your energy usage? The USEPA reports that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year for standby power. Connecting electronic devices to a power strip and then switching off the strip when the devices are not in use for extended periods of time, prevents phantom energy loss.
Resources & Rebates
Ameren Illinois provides an energy-efficiency checklist, along with energy efficiency tips on their Act On Energy website. In addition, access to rebate and cost incentive programs for both homes and businesses is provided.