By: Brittney Gordon
These past two weeks has brought unusually high temperatures to the D.C. area and I am taking full advantage of the sunny weather. I am always excited about the coming of spring and this early start motivates me to shake up my normal routine and start to do some of the things that I have been putting off. For me that includes some energy saving moves that will save my family money and help protect our environment from climate change.
If you are feeling inspired to do the same, here are a few easy tips:
- Change to More Efficient Light Bulbs: I still have a couple of incandescent bulbs hanging around the house and it is high time that I change them to Energy Star qualified models. Energy Star qualified lighting not only uses less energy, but also produces approximately 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, so your cooling bills will be reduced, too.
- Find the Best Thermostat Settings: If you have a programmable thermostat, program it to work around your family’s spring schedule—set it a few degrees higher when no one is home, so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house.
- Use Ceiling Fans: Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room make sure to turn off the fan.
- Maximize Shade: Pull the curtains and shades closed before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior of your home. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to serve as shade.
- Check Air Conditioner Filters: Check your cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. A good rule is to change the filter at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool—wasting energy. Also, remember to have your system serviced annually to ensure it’s running at optimum efficiency for money and energy savings.
For more information on how you can save energy this spring, check out Energy Star’s website for lots of great tips.
About the author: Brittney Gordon works on the communications team for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. She began working for EPA in 2010 after a career in broadcast journalism.