3 Easy Changes to Save Energy - Carolina Country

3 Easy Changes to Save Energy

Small adjustments can add up

By Miranda Boutelle

3 Easy Changes to Save Energy

A question I often hear is: What are some ways I can save energy without spending a lot of money? Changing energy use is a matter of changing behavior. When looking at electric bills, many people focus on the total dollar amount of the bill.

When trying to manage energy costs, I suggest changing your focus to energy use. While you don’t have control over the cost of the energy, you can control how much energy you use. Here are three low- or no-cost ways to go about that.

1Set goals
Instead of thinking about your bills in terms of dollars, think about them in terms of kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the unit of energy used for most electric bills. Review your monthly kWh use to get an idea of how much you use every month.

Once you’ve reviewed your energy use, set goals for the next month. Try to use less energy than the month before, and check your results on your next bill.

2Power “off” for energy savings
When looking for energy savings, remember that “off” is the most efficient setting. Turning off lights is a classic strategy, especially if your lighting is incandescent. Consider switching to energy-saving LED lightbulbs.

Computers and gaming systems can waste energy even when in sleep mode. The higher the wattage and the more hours the device is on, the more energy used. Laptops use the least energy, followed by personal computers at about 200 watts. Gaming consoles typically use less energy than gaming PCs. Don’t forget to turn off the monitor as well.

You can lower your energy use even more with smart power strips, which cut power to devices that are not in use. Many electronics continue to draw power even when they are turned off. This could add 5% to 10% to your monthly bill, according to the Department of Energy. Installing smart power strips is an easy way to ensure devices are completely turned off and not drawing power.

3Adjust the temp
When it comes to lowering your energy use, the settings on your thermostat are another great place to check. Keep in mind, the weather affects your electric bill for heating and air conditioning.

The closer you can keep the indoor temperature to the outdoor temperature, the more you will save. You want to protect your home from damage in extreme heat and cold, but if you can turn the temperature down a few degrees in winter and up in summer, you will save on energy costs.

Ensuring your filters in your heating and cooling system are clean is an easy way to keep your system maintained and operating efficiently. Adding annual servicing by a professional maximizes the efficiency and can lengthen the life of your system.

Understanding your energy use and making small adjustments to your routine will help you reach your energy use goals.

About the Author

This column was written by Miranda Boutelle of the Efficiency Services Group. Visit CarolinaCountry.com/your-energy for more ideas on energy efficiency.

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