In the Pittsburgh area, we are always trying to find simple ways to reduce both our costs spent on energy and harmful effects those uses can have on our planet. We have pulled together some easy, effortless ways in which you and your family can reduce both energy use and impact. As we come across new and innovative ways to help Pittsburgh residents save on energy costs, we will pass them along.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
While more than 1/2 of American homes have programmable thermostats, many of us don’t know how to use them effectively. Take some time to go through your user manual, and learn how to program your thermostat to be most cost-efficient. For example, program your thermostat to lower the heat during hours of sleep, and set it to increase the temperature approximately one hour prior to waking in the morning. Effectively using your programmable thermostat can save you up to 10%!
Unplug All Cords/Devices That Aren’t In Use
Also known as a “phantom load”, leaving cords and devices plugged into outlets still uses energy (even if the device plugged in is fully charged!). Items that are plugged in, but turned off, can also use energy. So, go by the rule that if it’s not being used, it’s not plugged in. In “high-traffic” areas, utilize a power strip that can be shut off when items aren’t in use. Doing this can save you 5%!
Install/Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans aren’t just for the warmer months. Even in Pittsburgh, using your ceiling fans in the winter can save you up to 19%! First, be sure that you are using Energy Star rated fans, and that they are designed to work with the size of room they are installed in. During the warmer months, be sure that the fan is rotating counter-clockwise to circulate cool air throughout the room. In the winter months, flip the switch, and have the ran rotate clockwise, to push the rising, warm air downward. Use fans only in the rooms that you use most often, to save even more!
Upgrade Your Appliances
Appliances can seem like a big investment. However, it is important to note that on average, household appliances account for nearly 20% of all energy used in a residence. Even if you choose to upgrade your appliances over time, always look for an Energy Star efficiency rating as high as you can find. Most often, the appliances that use the most energy include clothes dryers and refrigerators. With your fridge, be sure to keep the coils clean and free of debris (check every six months) and fill up empty space inside the refrigerator with jugs of water – these will help hold in the cold! Using all of these energy saving tips can save you up to 16% in costs!
What is Energy Star?
Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America. It was created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration. Devices carrying the Energy Star service mark, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards.