Be Energy Smart
Start the New Year by Resolving to Save Energy at Home and at Work
By: Andy Farmer
The holidays have come and gone, and many Virginians across the state have once again made their resolutions for the new year. While Virginia Energy Sense (VES) can’t help you achieve your fitness goals or kick a pesky bad habit, we can help you commit to reducing your energy use both at home and while you’re at work.
At VES, our new year’s resolution is to help you become more energy efficient through our energy education program. We want to help Virginians understand all the easy and cost-effective ways to save energy to help Virginia meet its goal of reducing electric energy consumption 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2020.
Compared to other new year’s resolutions, saving energy is not as hard as you may think. Below are some tips and suggestions that you can use to save power and trim down your electricity bill in the process!
Home Energy Saving Tips
- Install a smart thermostat – If you’re constantly going in and out of your house, chances are you are using energy when not there. A smart thermostat learns your behavior and can lower or raise the temperature if you are going to be out or not. And it lets you control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.
- Maintain your filters – Replace or clean your furnace filters once a month, as dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
- Buy ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products have the highest energy efficiency ratings, and your office could see long term savings by switching to them!
- Reduce the temperature of your water heater – By lowering your water heater’s maximum temperature to approximately 120 degrees, you can save energy and money on water heating costs.
- Insulate your home - Make sure your attic and basement are properly insulated. If your insulation is just level with or below your floor joists, you should add more.
- Switch to LEDs – CFLs and LED light bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Switching to them will save your office both energy and money!
- Maintain your air– Ensure your HVAC systems are running efficiently by having your system serviced once per year and by cleaning or changing your filters monthly. Doing so can reduce energy consumption up to 15% and increase savings by up to 7.5%.
Work Energy Saving Tips
- Close those blinds – Keep your business cool by closing blinds in the winter at the end of the day to reduce heat loss, and during the day in the summer to avoid the heat of direct sunlight.
- Turn off your computer – Monitors account for most of the energy used by computers, so be sure to turn them off when not in use and before you head home to save energy.
- Use power strips – Plug in several devices in your office, such as office printers and kitchen appliances, to a power strip in order to make turning them all off much easier.
- Switch off lights – Place reminders near light switches to get employees in the habit of turning off lights when they leave their offices and cubicles. Doing so is an easy way to cut energy use at work.
- Clear your vents – Blocked vents can result in as much as a 25 percent increase in energy used to distribute air in your office, so be sure to clear the areas in front of vents of obstructions.
- Be smart – Utilize the energy efficient features on your work computer, like using sleep mode controls and developing nighttime shut down protocols, to cut energy consumption.
Apply for rebates – Check out our commercial incentives page to see if there are any government or utility energy saving programs your business qualifies for!
You can visit http://www.virginiaenergysense.org/ to learn more about how you can take action this New Year to reduce your energy use at home and work. Doing so will help Virginia toward its goal of reduced energy consumption and help you start the year off responsibly.
Author: Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)