Energy Conservation in the Home

Aug. 24, 2011

Energy Conservation in the Home

The media is full of information about the economy. Since spring, the stock market has gone up and down. The unemployment rate remains high. Gasoline prices rise and fall. As a result, families continue to look for ways to stretch limited resources to meet their needs.

As cooler weather approaches, families begin to think of ways to save money on their utility bills. Here are two energy -saving strategies we personally implemented recently. Since last December, our family has saved $211.79, plus the money we saved on taxes using the energy tax deduction for 2010.

First, we insulated our house. If you plan to insulate your home, be sure to educate yourself and make wise decisions. An energy audit is a good starting point. Talk to knowledgeable experts. We began by talking to Extension Energy Specialists from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at a recent professional meeting. They reviewed possible options and shared written resources we could study at home. We talked to energy experts from our local rural cooperative and our local do-it-yourself center. We also went online to the website and reviewed information on insulating a home. Armed with this information, we selected the type of insulation, the amount of insulation, and added it to the rafters over our house.

After seeing the savings on our utility bill for a couple of months, we talked to the experts at the local rural cooperative again to see what else we might try to save even more money. It was suggested a quick easy thing to try was a programmable thermostat. We evaluated thermostat models and selected one to meet our needs. Once again we turned to the website and found an article on “Thermostat Settings for Home Energy Conservation and Energy Savings.” Using the suggestions we read, we programmed the thermostat so the heating temperature would be lower when we were not home and at night. When we were home during the week and on week-ends, we heated the house so we were comfortable.

Now that we have been able to see tangible results of our efforts, we have tried a few other things. These energy saving tips were not hard to implement. Once again we looked for suggestions and turned to the website. We looked at the Home Maintenance, Energy, Healthy Homes site from the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and the Housing Fact Sheets from Cornell University College of Human Ecology. After reviewing their suggestions, here is a list of what we tried.

  • We bought an energy efficient washing machine when our old washer broke.
  • We unplugged our cell phone chargers when we were not using them.
  • We tried not to leave the bathroom fan running so the warm or cool air was not exhausted out of the house.
  • We cleaned registers on a regular basis.
  • We installed low-flow showerheads and repaired leaky faucets.
  • We cleaned the dryer filter after each load.
  • We used fluorescent bulbs.
  • We shut down our computer at night instead of leaving it in standby mode.

After we were finished, we asked ourselves why we hadn’t we implemented energy saving strategies sooner. Before too much longer, we will have our initial investment paid off and begin to see a savings. So what can you do to save energy and when will you be motivated to begin?