On the Energy Front
Take Charge of Your Energy Bill this Summer with Help from Virginia Energy 
                                                                                           By:  Andy Farmer, Virginia Energy Sense

Andy Farmer

Over the past few months, we have been spending more time inside than we may be used to. We’re depending on homes to serve as our office, classroom and social setting. This leads to increased use of our devices to stay connected with friends and family, work remotely and virtually attend school. Summer is right around the corner and as we continue to spend our time inside we can expect an increase in AC use to keep the house cool and comfortable. This increased activity can lead to elevated energy bills and we at Virginia Energy Sense (VES) are here to share some tips on how you can reduce your energy consumption.

As the Commonwealth’s energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission, VES’ mission is to inform Virginians of easy, cost-effective ways to reduce energy use. As we head into the warmer months and continue to spend our time indoors, there are opportunities to  implement several DIY energy savings upgrades at home. The best part is that these upgrades will help cut down your energy bill over the long-term. Below is a list of tips you can use to conserve your energy usage at home by making inexpensive adjustments.


Summer Home Energy Saving Tips

Seal air leaks – Prevent warm air from leaking into your home by sealing cracks and openings.

Open windows – On mild days, open your windows for natural ventilation and turn the air conditioning off.

Adjust your fans – During the summer, adjust your ceiling fan in the counter clockwise direction to recirculate the air and generate cooler temperatures throughout your home.

Use programmable thermostats – When you leave your home during the summer, set your programmable thermostat to a higher temperature than normal to keep energy costs low. When you return, lower the temperature to around 78 degrees to keep energy use at a minimum.

Swap in LEDs – Switch out your incandescent lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs. In comparison to incandescent, LEDs use up to 80% less energy and last several times longer.

Maintain your HVAC – Regularly change your AC’s air filter to ensure good air flow throughout your home during the summer.

Adjust your water heater – Water heating accounts for almost 20% of the energy consumed in your home. Reduce the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) to reduce energy use at home.

Open the blinds – Instead of turning on all of the lights throughout your home, consider opening the blinds and letting natural sunlight brighten your home instead.

Use energy efficient appliances – Older appliances are not as efficient as newer models, so consider swapping them with energy efficient equipment to increase your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Flip the switch – Turn off lights, computers, and other equipment when they’re not in use and overnight. Leaving them on, or plugged in when not in use, leads to higher electric bills.

For more information on ways to save energy this summer, check out the VES infographic, “Fun in (and out of) the Sun at Virginia Energy Sense.” You can also visit our YouTube page featuring several How-To videos to walk you through the process of sealing air leaks, installing a programmable thermostat and more or learn more at www.virginiaenergysense.org.

You can visit http://www.virginiaenergysense.org/ to learn more about the importance of swapping out old incandescent bulbs for more efficient ones, as the energy and cost savings over time will benefit both your wallet and the environment.

Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission.


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