As your cooperative, we want to provide you with the most useful information and applicable resources to help you save on bills. In a previous newsletter, we tackled some common energy efficiency myths. This follow up to that article dives into a few more myths to help you make more informed decisions.
Reducing Energy Use is Too Expensive
The first and most common misconception about energy efficiency is cost. There’s a stigma associated with it that assumes it’s far too expensive to be worth it, which is incorrect. While members can begin to see increased savings by upgrading insulation and replacing old appliances, many of the immediate steps you can take toward using energy efficiently are behavioral changes. Some of these will be addressed below, but others include turning off lights when you leave a room, limiting use of kitchen and bathroom vents, closing doors to empty rooms while heating or cooling systems are running, and remembering to close your curtains in the summer – and conversely open them in the winter – to keep sunlight from affecting the temperature inside your home.
Myth or Truth: Myth
Adjusting the Thermostat Saves Energy
Adjusting your thermostat up or down a few degrees, depending on the season, can help you save energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates this little behavioral change could save consumers as much as 10 percent per year on their energy bills. Since heating and cooling our homes accounts for approximately half of our annual energy usage, that could result in significant savings. To see additional savings on your energy bills, you can adjust the thermostat a few more degrees when you and your family won’t be home. It is recommended to practice adjusting your thermostat 6-8 degrees when your home will be empty for several hours, such as when you’re at work. It’s important to note you may not see savings from this practice when you’re only away from the home for a couple hours. This practice is easily paired with a smart thermostat, which can either adjust your thermostat automatically based your location relative to the home or on a pre-programmed schedule. If you and your family are traveling for the holidays, you can set your thermostat to an even lower temperature, roughly 50 degrees, to both save energy and protect your pipes from winter temperatures. In certain situations, it may even be possible to turn your system off altogether, such as a family vacation in the summer or at night when you can allow Colorado’s mild climate to cool your home naturally by opening windows.
Myth or Truth: Truth
Ceiling Fans Keep Rooms Cool
Sitting in a room with a running ceiling fan may feel more comfortable than a room without one, but that’s not because the ceiling fan is actually cooling the air in the room. Instead, the room feels cooler because the ceiling fan keeps air in the room flowing constantly, cooling those who are in the room rather than the air itself. To use ceiling fans efficiently, run them only in occupied rooms while adjusting your thermostat up a few degrees. Leaving a ceiling fan running in an empty room just wastes energy.
Myth or Truth: Myth.
Setting Thermostat Higher Heats Home Faster
No matter what temperature you set your thermostat, your furnace will work equally as hard and fast to meet that goal. The only difference achieved by setting the temperature to a higher degree is that the system will work for a longer period of time, therefore using more energy. The same applies to air conditioners when set to a lower temperature then desired.
Myth or Truth: Myth
Appliances Don’t Use Power When Turned Off
You may have heard the term “vampire loads,” but do you know what causes them? When you turn off an electronic device or appliance, many don’t actually turn off. They go into a “standby” mode, which still draws a small amount of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates these loads are approaching nearly 10% of our annual energy usage, due in large part to the increased number of electronics we use daily. To save energy, make sure your electronics are turned off rather than in standby and unplug unused chargers. Using a smart power strip may be an effective way to combat these loads, as well.
Myth or Truth: Myth
Using energy more efficiently isn’t as difficult as you may believe. Many of the quickest ways to see results are to make small behavioral changes. If you’re curious about more ways you can save, check out our website at www.unitedpower.com/energy-tips or contact an Energy Management Specialist at 303-637-1300.