Alliance to Save Energy Offers Home Energy Tips, Web Resources To Head Off Power Blackouts/Brownouts, Cut Energy Bills, Pollution
Computers, printers, air conditioners, TVs, VCRs, microwaves -- we’re more "plugged in" than ever before.
Power blackouts and brownouts will increase this summer and in years to come, predicts the Alliance to Save Energy. Growing power demands, warmer weather patterns, simultaneous heat waves, severe cuts in energy-efficiency investments by utility companies in a deregulated climate, and governmental inaction are causes. The Alliance urges business, government, utility companies, and consumers to be part of the solution. Here’s how consumers can easily and comfortably lighten the power load in their own homes—and cut energy bills and pollution, too:
- Keep your cool and lower your costs. Ceiling and other fans provide additional cooling and better circulation, enabling you to raise the thermostat and cut down on air conditioning costs.
- Size matters. Bigger is not always better with air conditioning! Poorly-sized air conditioning units can inflate your energy costs and contribute to poor indoor air quality, worsening your allergies and making breathing uncomfortable. Check with your contractor or local air conditioning system retailer to properly size your unit.
- Cooling and heating are half of the average family’s energy bill. Maintain your air conditioning equipment with a professional "tune-up" to save you the cost and inconvenience of a breakdown during the hottest days! Clean or replace filters monthly. • Listen to your mother. ("What do you think — we own the electric company?!") Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers.
- To cut your utility bills by 30 percent, look for the Energy Star label, the symbol for energy efficiency, when shopping for room air conditioners, major appliances, lighting, and home electronics. Find retailers near you at www.energystar.gov.
- Don’t let your house get "sunburned." Cut your air conditioning load, reduce pollution, and fight your local "heat island" effect by planting leafy trees and vines around your home and installing reflective tiles on your roof and adequate insulation in your attic—which can often reach temperatures of 115 degrees or higher! (See www.naima.org for insulation information.)
- No more peeping Toms. Close blinds or shades on the south- and west-facing windows of the house during the day or install shading devices such as trellises or awnings.
- Tired of coming home to a sweltering house on hot summer days? A programmable thermostat automatically coordinates indoor climates with your daily and weekend patterns, increasing home comfort and reducing energy waste.
- Shift energy-intensive tasks, laundry and dishwashing, to off-peak energy demand hours.
- Go "window-shopping" at the Efficient Windows Collaborative web site, www.efficientwindows.org. You’ll learn how high-performance Energy Star windows can reduce average cooling costs from 15 to 35 percent in central and southern climate zones by filtering in visible light and filtering out heat waves.
- Sip lemonade and think cool thoughts — like how you’ll be freezing next winter and longing for summer again!