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Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR: Find More Comfort and Savings by Adding Insulation to Your Attic

2013 November 22

Attic Insulation

By: Doug Anderson

This week EPA invites you to “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR,” by sealing and insulating your home. This blog post is the fourth in a five part series from ENERGY STAR’s home envelope expert Doug Anderson about the benefits of sealing and insulating your home, and how you can get started this fall.

In yesterday’s blog, I covered how the attic is typically where the largest energy savings opportunity exists and how to seal air leaks in this area. To complete your attic energy-efficiency improvements, you then need to install additional insulation. By increasing your attic insulation levels, you can save energy and greatly improve the overall comfort of your home.

Attic Insulation: Deciding whether to do it yourself or hire a contractor

If your attic is accessible and not too difficult to move around in, and you enjoy tackling bigger home improvement projects, adding attic insulation may be a good do-it-yourself (DIY) project for you. EPA’s Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR program provides great DIY resources to guide you through the process. Even if you are not comfortable taking on this project yourself, there are many qualified contractors who can help you get the work done.

Also, consider consulting a contractor if your attic has wet or damp insulation, moldy or rotted rafters or floor joists, little or no ventilation, or pre-1930 knob and tube wiring. These may require repairs before starting.

Check the Level

Whether you are planning to do the project yourself or hire a contractor, start by checking your attic insulation levels or depth.  All you need is a tape measure or yardstick.  Taking a few pictures of the existing insulation in each direction inside your attic can provide a good record of where you are starting from, so bring a cell phone camera or digital camera with you.

Use the tape measure or yardstick to measure the depth of your existing insulation.  Insulation often varies in depth so check in a few places.  Knowing your current insulation depth will help you determine whether you should add more and how much more you should to add.

Choosing your insulation

Next, choose the right insulation for the job. Rolls of insulation can cover large areas of the attic and are great for wide open rectangular attics. They are available in fiber glass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers, such as cotton.   Loose fill insulation is another common attic insulation made up of loose fibers of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool that can conform to any space, making it ideal for odd shaped or hard to reach locations.

Installing attic insulation

When installing additional insulation, you do not have to use the same type of insulation that currently exists in your attic. You can add loose fill on top of rolls, and vice versa. If you use roll insulation over loose fill, make sure the roll has no paper or foil backing; it needs to be “unfaced.” Rolls installed over existing rolls should be placed side-by-side perpendicularly to the joists to cover the entire space.  Think carefully before you choose this option.  The many rolls you will need can be large to carry back from the store in a small car, and can be difficult to squeeze through small attic hatch openings.

If you choose to add loose fill, it may be wise to hire a professional, as the application requires the use of a blowing machine.  Some home improvement stores offer rentals of this machine for the motivated DIYer.  The machines are heavy and usually require an SUV or pickup to get home.

Keep in mind that insulation can create a fire hazard if it comes into direct contact with places that can get hot, like light fixtures, chimneys or flues, so you should take the proper precautions. Use sheet metal or wire mesh to help create a barrier around them.  Some home improvement stores now sell insulation covers for insulating around recessed lights.

Learn More

Visit the newly updated Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR website for more detailed information on how to install attic insulation.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR this week. Start insulating your attic to get more energy savings and comfort for your home!

Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 13 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including insulation products and energy efficient residential windows.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR: Unlocking the Comfort and Savings by Air Sealing Your Attic

2013 November 21

Attic Air Sealing

By: Doug Anderson

This week EPA invites you to “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR,” by sealing and insulating your home. This blog post is the third in a 5 part series from ENERGY STAR’s home envelope expert Doug Anderson about the benefits of sealing and insulating your home, and how you can get started this fall.

In yesterday’s blog, we covered how to check your home’s insulation levels and how to look for air leaks. We also covered how to use ENERGY STAR resources to help choose and prioritize your sealing and insulation projects.

To make the largest impact on your utility bill and comfort, you will want to start with the attic.  ENERGY STAR recommends that you always seal the attic first before adding any insulation.

Air sealing the attic: Do it yourself or hire a contractor?

Air sealing the attic is generally a challenging do-it-yourself (DIY) project, but can be well worth the savings in labor costs. If your attic is accessible and not too difficult to move around in, you don’t mind getting a bit dirty, and you enjoy tackling bigger home improvement projects, attic air sealing may be a good DIY project for you.

Even if you are not comfortable taking on this project yourself, don’t let that stop you – there are many qualified contractors who can do the job for you.

How to seal attic air leaks

If you have decided to do it yourself, you will want to start by identifying the locations of leaks, which was covered in the last blog.

Once you have found the leaks, they can be sealed using a variety of materials.  To seal the larger leaks use unfaced fiberglass insulation stuffed into plastic bags, rigid board insulation, a piece of drywall, or expanding spray foam in-a-can.  In some cases, you will need to use metal (such as aluminum) flashing and high temperature caulk to seal holes or gaps near areas that can get hot (such as near chimneys, furnace flues, or water heater flues). Then, seal smaller holes and cracks (under a ¼ inch) with long-lasting, flexible indoor/outdoor caulk like silicone or acrylic latex.

Safety First

After making home improvements that result in a tighter house, there can be an increased opportunity for carbon monoxide (CO) to build up if your gas- or oil-burning appliances are not venting properly.   Have your heating and cooling technician check your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) for proper venting.  This testing is called combustion safety testing.  The testing is easy, but should be done by professional contractor who can sign-off that the systems are OK.

Also, in certain parts of the country, sealing may also trap dangerous indoor air pollutants (like radon) in your home.  To see if you live in these areas or if you just want to learn more about radon, check out the EPA website here.  You can test for radon yourself for a low cost, or hire a professional contractor to conduct tests and discuss solutions if they find problems.  The tests are easy and can give you peace-of-mind.

Additional information on achieving good indoor air quality and proper ventilation in your home can be found here.

Learn More

For more detailed instructions on how to identify and seal air leaks in the attic and throughout the home, visit the Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR website.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR this week. Start sealing attic air leaks to unlock the savings in your attic!

Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 13 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including insulation products and energy efficient residential windows.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR: Check Your Attic Insulation and Look for Air Leaks

2013 November 20

 

Winterizing blog 2.0

By: Doug Anderson

This week EPA invites you to “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR,” by sealing and insulating your home. This blog post is the second in a 5 part series from ENERGY STAR’s home envelope expert Doug Anderson about the benefits of sealing and insulating your home, and how you can get started this fall.

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about why sealing and insulating your home is one of the most important winter preparations you can do this fall. So if you are ready to get started, the first thing you will need to do is run a quick check of your home and list all of the opportunities for air sealing and adding insulation.

Start with a quick check of your attic insulation

Gather up a few handy tools, including a ladder, flashlight and camera. Find and open your attic hatch(es) and enter the attic or simply look inside. You can take a few pictures with your camera or cell phone of the insulation to study later or show to a retail associate or contractor so they understand what your current insulation levels are.

A rule of thumb is if the insulation is level with or below the floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. You can also measure the depth to calculate the R-value. Typically you want at least R-30. It is recommended that you have R-48 in Northern climates.

Figure 1 - Add more insulation

Figure 1 – Add more insulation

 

Figure 2 - Probably enough insulation

Figure 2 – Probably enough insulation

 Next check for air leaks in the attic

While you are in the attic, do a quick visual inspection for common locations of air leaks. All you will need is a note pad, pen, flashlight and camera.  Record these in a sketch and take pictures so you know where to come back to later seal them.

Then check for air leaks in the rest of the house

Walk around the interior and exterior of your home and do a similar visual inspection for common locations of air leaks in around the house. You can also run simple do-it-yourself tests that can help you find hidden leaks and test if air is actually passing through gaps and cracks.

Want a more thorough evaluation?

Consider hiring a home energy professional to perform a comprehensive energy audit to find hidden air leaks, pinpoint specific solutions for your home, and identify potential safety issues.

Get started!

Once you have a list of potential insulating and air sealing projects, visit the newly updated Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR website for guidance on how to prioritize your projects based on three factors: effort and costs, savings opportunity, and the problem you would like to fix.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR this week. Check your home insulation and look for air leaks!

Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 13 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including insulation products and energy efficient residential windows.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR: Seal and Insulate Your Home for the Winter

2013 November 19

Seal and Insulate

By: Doug Anderson

This week EPA invites you to “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR,” by sealing and insulating your home. This blog post is the first in a 5 part series from ENERGY STAR’s home envelope expert Doug Anderson about the benefits of sealing and insulating your home, and how you can get started this fall.

When you hear “getting ready for winter,” what comes to mind? Pulling winter coats out of storage? Buying new snow shovels, or maybe getting a new pair of winter boots? How about sealing and insulating your home? In fact, sealing holes and adding insulation in the attic could be some of the most important projects you do this fall.

Believe it or not, many homes are not ready for chilly winter weather. Older, and even some newer homes, are often under-insulated and teeming with hidden gaps and cracks, resulting in winter electric/gas bill spikes, and sometimes an inability to keep rooms comfortable. In fact, if you added up all the holes and gaps in a typical home, they would be equivalent to having one window open all the time!

By doing a few ENERGY STAR-recommended air sealing and insulation projects yourself, or hiring a contractor, you can start enjoying significant benefits, including:

  • Reduced home energy use
  • Lower utility bills
  • Improved comfort (especially during summer and winter)
  • Less household carbon emissions for a reduced environmental impact

How much can I expect to save from sealing and insulating?

EPA estimates that you can save $200 a year* (10 percent off your annual energy bills) by sealing and insulating your home according to guidance from ENERGY STAR. With many utility incentives and tax credits available today, these investments can pay for themselves over time.

The savings come from keeping heat in the home during the winter and outside during the summer. When your home is well-insulated and sealed, your heater and air conditioner can run less, saving electricity, natural gas, and money. Making the proper investments today means less waste and more savings.

Other sealing and insulating benefits

The benefits extend beyond just saving energy and money. By sealing and insulating your home according to ENERGY STAR recommendations, you may also improve your home in other ways, including:

  • Reduced noise from outside
  • Less pollen, dust, and pests entering your home
  • Better humidity control
  • Lower chance for ice dams on the roof/eves

Getting started on your sealing and insulating projects

Visit the newly updated Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR website for more in-depth information and resources on:

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR this week. Start sealing and insulating your home!

*Note: Assumes that the typical U.S. home spends $2000 per year on utility costs. This amount may be higher or lower depending on your location.

Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 13 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including insulation products and energy efficient residential windows.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Do One Thing ENERGY STAR for ENERGY STAR Day!

2013 November 4
Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR

Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR 

We’re saving you time, money and energy while you help save the planet.

By: Kristinn Leonhart

So, I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate it when others make things simple for me. After my kids are in bed at night, I’m often online researching the answers to questions like, “How can I help my child focus better in school?” Articles that go on for pages drive me nuts. In today’s day and age of information overload, the articles I love the most are headlined, “Five Easy Ways to Help Your Child Focus in School.” We have noticed users of the ENERGY STAR Facebook page feel the same way. Our fans love our “Try-it Tuesday” posts, where we’re just giving you one thing to try.

This is how “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR” was born! We’re launching this new, fun way to make it simpler for you to find valuable information. In fact, we’re doing the sifting for you! Each week we’ll highlight one thing ENERGY STAR that you can try. You can do every single thing every week or pick the tips that work best for your situation and budget. The more you do, the more money and energy you’ll save! And you can feel great about helping save the planet, too.

We’re kicking off Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR in honor of ENERGY STAR Day (November 5th). So, Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR starting today and if you keep it up, you’ll see your savings multiply. That’s what we do at ENERGY STAR.  Save you money.  Save you energy.  And together, we fight climate change and save the planet.

Join the over three million Americans who have already pledged to Change the World with ENERGY STAR.  Continue on your energy-saving journey with  Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR. And don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for your Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR tip of the week! Thank you for being ENERGY STAR champions.

Kristinn Leonhart is the ENERGY STAR Brand Manager and a big fan of saving money and energy and keeping life simple. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Fall into Fall Energy Savings

2013 September 23

Fall leaves

By: Brittney Gordon-Williams

It’s hard to believe but summer has come to a close, and fall is officially here. While summer is my favorite time of year, fall runs a close second. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, the weather is usually just about perfect, with mild temperatures that are great for wearing just a light jacket to keep the evening chill away. But, that evening chill also means that many of us start to crank up the heat, as we try to keep our homes nice and comfortable. As you head into fall, these simple tips can help you keep those high energy bills at bay.

1.)    Use ENERGY STAR Certified Lighting: The sun is going down earlier and earlier these days, and that means spending a lot more time with the lights on. Have you changed out all of your lights to ENERGY STAR certified models yet? Using ENERGY STAR certified lighting means that you are using 75 percent less energy than with incandescent bulbs. Making the switch not only means that you are saving $40-$135 in annual energy bills, but your bulbs will last 10-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

2.)    Seal and Insulate Your Home: Sealing and insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating. Check out ENERGY STAR’s website to find out more.

3.)    Use a Programmable Thermostat: Using a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save energy this fall. All you have to do is set the correct temperature based on how your home is being used at different points in the day, and let the thermostat do the rest. Setting the device correctly is the most important piece to the puzzle, so use the information on ENERGY STAR’s website and start saving up to $180 per year.

4.)    Use a Power Strip: The end of summer means that the kids will once again be back in the house, watching TV and playing video games. You can make sure that they don’t leave the all of the electronics on day and night by using a power strip. With just one click they can turn everything off at once, helping the entire family to keep those energy bills down.

5.)    Keep Drapes Open: This may be the easiest energy-saving tip of all. Keep the drapes/shades on south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home. Just don’t forget to close the drapes/shades at sundown to prevent heat loss in the evening.

So, what is your favorite fall energy-saving tip? Leave it in a comment to this post and help other fans of the ENERGY STAR Current save energy, save money and protect the climate this fall.

Brittney Gordon-Williams is a member of the ENERGY STAR communications team. Pumpkin-flavored lattes, warm boots and leather jackets are just a few of the things that she loves about fall. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Celebrate National Ceiling Fan Day!

2013 September 18

ceiling fan

By: Jill Vohr

Today, September 18th is the first annual National Ceiling Fan Day.  If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, it’s probably because it is the first of its kind – but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to take part.  Ceiling Fan Day is brought to us by one of our ENERGY STAR partners, Fanimation, with support from the American Lighting Association and the U.S. Green Building Council, among others, as well as EPA ENERGY STAR.

National Ceiling Fan Day invites everyone to join the fight to reduce energy consumption by turning off their central cooling systems and relying on ceiling, floor, desk and wall fans to save trillions of  kilowatt hours of energy consumption.  Studies published by Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that 94 million of the 113.6 million residential homes in the United States use air conditioning equipment, and 110.1 million use space heating equipment.  Using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning – or with less air conditioning – is an effective way to save energy since ceiling fans use significantly less energy than air conditioning.

EPA ENERGY STAR supports National Ceiling Fan Day to encourage energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change.  We also invite everyone to save even more energy on this day by using an ENERGY STAR certified fan.  Ceiling fans that have earned the ENERGY STAR label are 60% more efficient than conventional fans.  But remember to turn off your ceiling fan when you leave the room.  Ceiling fans cool people, not the room.

So, give National Ceiling Fan day a whirl – pun intended – and turn off your air conditioning and turn on your ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fan today.  You might be surprised how comfortable you can be, not only with the temperature, but also knowing you are helping protect the climate.

Jill Vohr is the Director of Marketing for the ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Back to School: You Need Your Sleep! (And Your Computer Does Too)

2013 September 12

Computer

By: Steve Ryan & Jamie Ryan

Steve Ryan: The school year has officially begun and countless parents are admonishing their kids to get some sleep. We have all heard that a well-rested body yields a sharp mind.  But for many young people, it is not so easy to sleep with the pressure of knowing you’re taking a test that could have big implications on your chances of getting into a certain college – or if you’re already in college, for keeping up your GPA.  Well, it may surprise you to learn that there may be other thinking units in your house with this problem.  In fact, your computer may not be getting any sleep at all.  Luckily, with a few simple steps you can make sure that your computer gets all the sleep it needs—even if you do not—and also save energy, money and help protect the environment.

In fact, if you activate the power management features (aka sleep features) on your computer, it can cut your electricity use roughly in half, saving $25–75 per year. Saving energy reduces air pollution and reduces the impacts of climate change, since power plants burn fossil fuels to generate the electricity that keeps your computers, smart phones and other devices running (which in turn creates greenhouse gases and other pollution).

So, how do you do it? Just click here and EPA will show you the way. As my parents used to say, electricity does not grow on trees. Okay, they actually said that money does not grow on trees, but I think you get the point and can see how this simple move can save your family money.

As I sat at home writing this blog post it occurred to me that I should ask an actual student how they feel about putting their computer to sleep. Let’s face it—many times they are the ones leaving it on around the clock. My daughter Jamie graciously agreed to write a few words to help encourage her peers to use their computers more efficiently:

Jamie Ryan: I think we can all agree (as students) that nothing is more irritating than the incessant reminders of the importance of sleep.  Academics often put us in a position where we must choose between sleep and a good grade.  However, it is an important factor in our success.  And when it comes to preventing climate change, saving energy from your computer is also very important. While it can be very easy to keep it on day and night, it deserves sleep just as much as you do. And if giving it a rest is a great way to protect our environment from climate change, I think that it is well worth the effort. This school year I plan to spread the word about power management to the other kids in my school. With all of the time that we spend in front of the computer, this seems like the least we could do to help make a difference in the protection of our environment.

Steve Ryan:  Here is one last tip for all of the moms and dads out there: Once you’ve taken a few moments to change the settings on your home computer, be sure to check if your computer at work is going to sleep.  Even if there are only 50 computers in your office, it could possibly save your organization $3,500 per year in energy costs.  You may have just earned a promotion!  Work for a bigger organization? One major company we work with activated power management features on 75,000 computers and is estimated to be saving $2.5 million a year.  That’s enough energy savings to light over 23,000 homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gas emission by 20,000 tons. But don’t feel like you have to save the whole world. Start at home and just take one simple step that will save you money and help the environment.  Besides, sleep is ohhh so good.  And to all the students out there–best of luck on your exams.

Steve Ryan started working for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program in 1999.  He currently manages a national campaign to promote power management as well as other information technology energy efficiency initiatives called “The Low Carbon IT Campaign.”  For more information and to get step by step instructions on how to put your computer into low power mode, go tohttp://www.energystar.gov/powermanagement. Jamie Ryan is a senior at Oakton High School in Oakton, VA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Next-Generation Energy Efficient TV Technology is Here

2013 September 5
OLED TV

OLED TV

By John Taylor

With football season moving into high gear, lots of us are thinking about the ultimate TV viewing experience. There are many factors to consider when looking for the perfect TV, and with today’s technology it’s possible to have it all – high picture quality and design as well as energy efficiency.

For those of you who are early adopters, you may be wondering about one of the newest TVs on the market – the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TV.

OLED TV is the next generation in television technology, representing the most significant change in display technology since the introduction of flat-panel TVs. The TVs are ultra-thin and light weight and produce superb picture quality.

Sound’s great? It gets better.

OLED TVs mean that you don’t have to sacrifice performance and style for energy efficiency.

Although “LED” stands for “light-emitting diode” in both cases, the design of each TV is actually quite different. LED TVs simply use an array of LEDs as the backlight for an otherwise traditional LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, shining through a screen of LCD pixels. With OLED TVs, the organic layer creates its own light source for each pixel. As a result, OLED’s improvement over LED’s color, clarity and contrast ratios is quite dramatic. And even with this leapfrogging display technology, OLED TVs can be energy efficient, too.

The first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV — the new “Curved OLED TV” from LG Electronics — went on sale in July. Among its energy-saving features is the “Smart Energy Saving” mode, which includes a sensor that automatically adjusts the display brightness according to the viewing environment. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Energy Guide” label, the TV has an estimated yearly energy cost of only $18.*

To learn more about the first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV, visit lg.com/us/oled/.

* The FTC’s calculations are based on 11 cents per kWh and 5 hours use per day. Your cost depends on your utility rates and use. Visit ftc.gov/energy.

John Taylor is vice president of public affairs and communications for LG Electronics USA.  

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Back to School Time

2013 August 29

Brittney Gordon-Williams

By: Brittney Gordon-Williams

Labor Day is upon us. Nothing illustrates the end of summer better than seeing kids back at the bus stop in the mornings, and if my Facebook feed is any indication, kids across the country are already strapping on those backpacks and heading back to class. For many parents, this time of year brings a sigh of relief, as the whole family gets back to a normal schedule. But, the coming of the new school year can also mean the return to higher energy costs. Here are a few ways that EPA can help your whole family save energy, save money and help prevent climate change as you head back to school.

  • These days kids of all ages use the computer to complete homework assignments, and your child will undoubtedly spend countless hours in front of the monitor. Make sure that your computer is ENERGY STAR certified, and you will use 30-65 percent less energy depending on how it is used. Take your energy-saving a step further and activate your computer’s power management settings. You can save up to $50 each year.
  • The return to school may also mean the return to late nights spent studying. Make sure that your family is saving energy as the kids burn the late night oil by using ENERGY STAR certified lighting. Bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR use 75 percent less energy and last 10 to 50 times longer. Cool fact: If you placed an ENERGY STAR certified LED in your child’s nursery room today, it would last until they were in college.
  • Do you have a student heading to college? Make sure they don’t forget all of the great energy-saving education you taught them, and be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR when outfitting their room. From TVs and soundbars to the mini-fridge and light bulbs, ENERGY STAR’s certified products have everything you need to make sure your student is being a good environmental steward, even when away from the nest.
  • Did you know that school buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR? In fact, Demarest Elementary in New Jersey won the ENERGY STAR National Building Competition last year, reducing its energy use by over 50 percent. Check out this year’s competition, and work with your child’s school to save energy all year long. Saving energy leads to saving money, which will add up to an even greater education for the students in your life.

Before the kids get too bogged down with homework, don’t forget to join Team ENERGY STAR! By joining the team, your family will get access to fun and educational resources from EPA to help make saving energy a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

Brittney Gordon-Williams is a member of the ENERGY STAR communications team.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.