New Year's Energy Efficiency Resolutions
Now that we’re almost a month into 2016, how are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? If you’ve fallen off the wagon, fear not! We have some easy energy efficiency resolutions you can adopt that will be good for your wallet and the environment. We asked around to see what other folks had in mind for energy efficiency resolutions. Check out this video to see what they’re doing to keep our planet and their pocketbooks green. Here’s to an energy-efficient 2016!
1. Thermostat & HVAC – According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating and cooling accounts for half of the energy use in a typical home or small business. Your thermostat is a great place to start trimming that expense. Try setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees in either direction depending on the season when you leave for the day. This will keep your system from working unnecessarily while your space isn’t being used.
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat. Many models, such as Nest, take out a lot of the guesswork or diligence required when trying to efficiently cool or heat your space. They’ve also been shown to save you upwards of 15% on heating and cooling costs!
2. Lighting – Simply put, make a conscious effort to turn off lights when you leave a room. For businesses, changing to motion sensor switches in some areas, such as bathrooms, can ensure that lights aren’t left on when the room isn’t occupied.
Transitioning to LED lighting may seem expensive at first, but the efficiency and long-term savings are unparalleled. A single light fixture stocked with a regular 60-watt incandescent bulb consumes about 525kWh of electricity in a year. A 60-watt equivalent LED bulb will consume only 65kWh by comparison. In addition, you won’t have to change an LED bulb nearly as often. The typical incandescent bulb lasts 750 hours. An LED? Try upwards of 30,000 hours! LEDs have dropped in price considerably in recent years, making a transition surprisingly affordable.
Want some fun in your LEDs? There’s an app for that. Some LED systems, like Philips Hue, can be programmed via smartphone to change color or turn off during low-use times to maximize efficiency.
3. Water heating – Water heating often accounts for 14-18% of utility bills according to the DOE. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older models. If yours is more than five years old, wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.
Make sure your showerhead is a Water Sense labeled or otherwise low-flow showerhead. By switching to a showerhead with a flow rating less than 2.5 gallons per minute, you conserve water and thereby keep your water heater from having to refill and reheat as often. You can request a free water-efficient showerhead and home retrofit kit from the Southern Nevada Water Authority by filling out their online form.
4. Natural light – As one of the sunniest states in the country, Nevada has an abundant resource you can harness to keep your home warm during winter days. Open your curtains and allow passive solar heating to warm your home. By doing so, you’ll give your heater and utility bill a break.
5. Professional Energy Audit – If you’re serious about being energy efficient in 2016, start by consulting a professional to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of your home or business. These assessors use special tools to give you a thorough picture of where your home is losing energy and where you can save money. You can find several professional energy auditors listed in our Green Business Guide under the Energy Efficiency section.