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National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

January 10, 2022

January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. There are a number of things – both large and small – that individuals and corporations can do to help cut energy costs. Applying these strategies not only saves money but also improves efficiency and contributes to a healthier environment.

 

Around the Home

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides suggestions for what people can do at home to improve their energy efficiencies. The site shares that the national average electricity consumption is about 1000 kWh/month. Take a look at your bill. How do you compare?

One of the easiest ways to cut your energy cost at home is to improve your lighting. This doesn’t mean replacing every fixture in your house – replacing light bulbs with energy efficient versions, such as LEDs, can make a big difference.

“Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting,” reports the DOE in their article on lighting.

Using timers on lights or being sure to turn lights out when they’re not in use or when you’re not at home can add to the savings. In general, it’s important to consider what is always left on in your home. Can you turn your laptop off at the end of the day? Is your TV constantly running for background noise?

Another tip is to pay attention to energy usage when you buy appliances. Are they Energy Star rated? What is the expected cost to operate based on the Energy Guide label? If you’re comparing two similarly priced appliances and one has much better energy ratings, consider selecting the one that is more energy efficient.

When it comes to less obvious culprits of energy waste, windows top the list. When is the last time you considered how well your windows are performing?

“Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use,” reports the DOE in their article on windows.

While replacing windows is a large expense, there are tactics homeowners can use to improve their efficiency, including checking for leaks, using weatherstripping, and adding energy efficient curtains/shades or other window coverings.

For more information on how you can improve energy savings at home, check out the DOE’s home energy assessments so that you can determine just how much energy you may be wasting.

 

For Businesses

Many of the suggestions for energy saving at home can also be applied to businesses. Swapping out light bulbs to LEDs, considering window coverings, and utilizing energy efficient appliances can all make a difference in a business’s energy bill.

Brian Lagas for National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shared a number of areas where business can improve their energy output. While the NIST article focuses on tips for the manufacturing sector – which utilizes vast amounts of energy – the suggestions offered can be applied to any industry.

Lagas first suggests that businesses conduct an energy audit to evaluate the business’s various pieces of equipment. This includes inspecting lighting systems, HVAC, and production line equipment (if applicable). The audit identifies areas for improvement and provides a baseline for establishing a strategic plan for energy saving.

One of the major areas that Lagas has identified as a major source of wasted energy is leaks in compressed air systems.

“Reports indicate that leaks can lead to a 20 to 30 percent loss of a compressor’s output,” says Lagas. “They can also diminish the effectiveness of your equipment.”

Fixing these leaks may be minor, such as loose hoses or worn parts, and correcting the problem can amount to substantial energy savings.

Lagas also suggests evaluating when the most energy is used during the day to see if changes can be made to take advantage of the best electrical rates.

“Electrical rates can vary depending on the timing of energy consumption, allowing businesses to strategically adjust their operating hours accordingly,” says Lagas. “If possible, avoid ‘peak period rates,’ which usually occur in the afternoon and early evening hours.”

Finally, Lagas shares the importance of employee buy-in with energy conservation plans. If employees aren’t stopping to consider their energy use and how reducing it can provide many benefits, the business’s overall plan will have less of a chance to be successful.

While there may be some small initial costs associated with considering energy usage and how it can be improved the resulting benefits to the individual, business, and planet make it worth the investment.

Learn more about Capitol Tech’s degree programs in Construction, Facilities, and Safety, including courses on best practices for energy and sustainability. Many courses are available both on campus and online. For more information, contact admissions@captechu.edu.