Celebrate Energy Efficiency Day By Taking A First Step!

By Johanna Schweiss,
Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

One of my favorite days of the year is fast approaching – Energy Efficiency day is October 2nd!

Energy efficiency has a huge role to play as we work to meet our climate goals. The EPA estimates that the average building wastes about 30% of the energy it consumes. Any energy we don’t use reduces our contribution to climate change. Energy efficiency at home also reduces your utility bills and often improves comfort!

This October, I challenge you to choose one of the following to do in your home! You can learn more about Energy Efficiency Day (the source for these tips) at energyefficiencyday.org. And don’t forget that Ameren Missouri and Spire offer cash incentives and rebates for energy efficiency projects!

Make the switch to LED
LEDs last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.

Seal Those Leaks
On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. In fact, all the little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.
Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.

Heat and Cool Efficiently
Don’t waste money heating or cooling an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and use it!
Tip: Follow the U.S. Department of Energy recommended temperatures and be energy-efficient all year.

Maintain Your HVAC System
Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.
Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. A semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.

Turn the Electronics Off
That sounds easy, but too often we forget and leave electronics plugged in that are not in use.
Tip: Turn off unnecessary/idle lights, appliances and electronics. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once. (Sometimes the simplest things are really effective!)
Winter Tip: Invite the Sun In
Open curtains/shade on your west-and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and save 2%-12%.
Summer Tip: Close Blinds and Shades
During the day, keep your blinds and shades closed to prevent warm air from building up in your home.

Clean Your Clothing Efficiently
That’s an easy one. A washing machine spends 90% of its energy to heat water.
Tip: Consider using cold water instead. In addition, try to run full loads as much as possible, because the machine uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of the load size. Also, consider air-drying.
Clean Up Your Dishes Efficiently
With food comes dishes to clean. Fear not – there really is a more efficient way to use your dishwasher.
Tip: Avoid the “rinse hold” cycle and skip heated drying – simply open the door at the end of the washing cycle and let the dishes air dry!

For info visit Greenbuildingsarebetter.org