It’s Not Too Late to Join the Summer Energy Challenge
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It’s Not Too Late to Join the Summer Energy Challenge
We are officially halfway through the #SummerEnergyChallenge! Last month, we kicked off the season with a series of 12 energy-saving tips to try out during 12 weeks in June, July, and August. These tips range from easy, no-cost behavior changes (like driving techniques to save on gas) to home renovation projects that require upfront time and money, but that more than payoff in the long run.
If you’re just hearing about the challenge now, don’t worry – it’s not too late to join! All you need to do is check out the tips below, and each week, commit to a new efficient habit or upgrade. Remember to follow the Alliance’s Twitter and Facebook for weekly reminders on #TipTuesday, and let us know how much you saved by tweeting #SummerEnergyChallenge to @ToSaveEnergy. Happy savings!
P.S.: If you missed the first half of the challenge, catch up here.
Week seven: Water week
Saving water means saving energy. Take things to the next level by switching out your showerhead for one certified by EPA WaterSense. If everyone in the U.S. did this, we would collectively save $2.2 billion on water bills, $2.6 billion on energy bills, and 260 billion gallons of water each year.
Week eight: Power on purposefully
Did you know that many of your electronics drain power from the wall even when they’re turned off? Keep these “vampires” in check with an advanced power strip, which automatically turns off the power supply to devices not in use. With models selling for as low as $10, these power strips can save up to $200 a year.
Pro tip: Are you a renter? No problem! Most of these tips are renter-friendly. You can take an advanced power strip with you when you move, use temporary caulking that can be pealed off when no longer needed, and most landlords won’t mind tenants switching out lightbulbs or showerheads (but make sure to double check – and who knows, they may even offer you compensation!).
Week nine: Early August audit
Let’s start “Efficiency Expert” August – when we’ll take a look at some high-impact upgrades to maximize your home’s efficiency – by scheduling a home energy audit to determine where your home is using the most energy. While professional audits can cost several hundred dollars, they will identify the best steps you can take to permanently reduce your energy costs. Many utilities also offer discounts, and you can find a trusted provide through an ENERGY STAR search tool.
Low-cost option: Try a DIY home energy audit with tips from the Department of Energy.
Week ten: Cool down the smart way
What if you never had to worry about finding the ideal thermostat setting again? A smart thermostat can be programmed with your customized heating and cooling schedule, and even detect occupancy to conserve energy when you’re absent. This week, take two steps: 1) research if a smart thermostat is right for your home, and 2) look into whether your utility offers a demand response program for smart devices. Dozens of utilities in the U.S. offer programs that automatically adjust smart thermostats during peak demand events to prevent blackouts – and offer customers incentives to participate.
Low-cost option: If a smart thermostat if out of your price range and incentives aren’t available, see if your thermostat can be programmed with your preferred cooling schedule – it doesn’t have to be a smart device to save you money.
Week eleven: Weatherize for winter
It may feel like those long summer nights will never end, but before we know it, days will be cooling down again. Get ahead of the curve by weatherizing your home this week. Particularly if your home audit found insulation to be a major concern, consider hiring a professional contractor to improve the building envelope. But even setting aside a few weekend hours to layer new insulation in your attic, around your water heater, and in your basement or crawl space can have a major impact. In fact, ENERGY STAR finds you can knock 10% off of your entire annual energy bills with these improvements. Check out ENERGY STAR’s tips to get started.
Low-cost option: A precut “blanket” for your water heater can save up to 16% of your water heating bill for under $30.
Week twelve: Stay in the know on your home
Over the past weeks, we hope you’ve seen improvement in the performance of your home. One great way to track progress of your efficiency journey is with a Home Energy Management System, which is installed into a home electrical panel to monitor your home’s energy use and provide you with updates on the best opportunities to reduce energy waste. Knowledge is power: studies show that staying on top of home energy use with a HEMS can save up to 12% on energy bills.
Low-cost option: Set a goal to write down your home energy consumption off your utility bill each month going forward – and keep an eye on how it changes month by month, year over year. Even without a HEMs system, making a conscious choice to watch how much you use can encourage you to keep the momentum going.
We hope this energy challenge helps your family save – not just this summer but for years to come. Remember to let us know the results by tweeting #SummerEnergyChallenge at @ToSaveEnergy!
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