Efficiency tips for 2015 from the Energy Education Council

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — Saving money is a popular New Year’s resolution. The Energy Education Council has tips to help consumers save money in 2015 by cutting energy use and costs.

We want consumers to understand their energy bills and know how they can cut costs,” said Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council.

The Energy Education Council shares the following tips, organized by how much certain costs contribute to a home’s energy bill:

• According to energy.gov, heating and cooling typically account for about 48 percent of a home utility bill. Since heating/cooling is such a big cost, it is a good place to begin saving strategies. Start by regularly cleaning or replacing filters. During winter, dress warmly and keep the temperature in the home moderate. In the summer, wear light clothing and use fans to keep cool instead of running the air conditioning. Consumers can save money any season by closing off rooms that do not need to be heated or cooled.

• Water heating, at 18 percent (energy.gov), is next. Warm water is needed throughout the day to shower, cook and clean. However, it is not needed every moment of the day. Yet, many people’s water heaters work hard to keep water warm constantly. Give the water heater a break by setting its temperature to 120 degrees.

• Appliances — Do laundry in cold water, when possible. Run the dishwasher when there is a full load. Also, consider air drying dishes and line drying clothes as often as possible. Check the seals on refrigerators and freezers to make sure they are airtight. When shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star products use less energy than other products.

• Electronics and other devices — Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing new electronics as well. Even if not replacing electronics, money can be saved by unplugging products that are not in use.

• Lighting — Lighting is one of the easiest ways to increase a home’s efficiency. Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs or Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs. Both types use significantly less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs also last longer than incandescent lighting, so they will not have to be replaced as often.

For more tips about how to use energy efficiently and safely, visit EnergyEdCouncil.org.

From the Jan. 7-13, 2015, issue

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