Sunday, November 09, 2008

Xcel Energy's Top 10 Winter Energy Saving Tips

I live in Colorado, where I am fortunate the get my gas and electric from Xcel Energy, the largest wind provider in the country (which, let's face it, still isn't saying much at this point; they generate about 9% of their power from renewables; that's wind, biomass, and solar combined). Xcel is a national leader in renewable energy production, and recently announced plans to invest $1 billion in wind farms and biomass production in the Midwest.

Xcel offers consumers a list of "Top 10 Winter Energy Saving Tips." From their website:

Reward yourself and save energy while maintaining your home comfort-level. If these are things you do already, challenge yourself to take the next step. The following are 10 easy tips that are divided among “no-cost, low-cost, and ‘go-big’ (investment)” decisions. So, go on, give them a try!

No Cost

1. Set your water heater to 120°.
It’s simple. Your hot water heater won’t have to work so hard if it’s set at a lower temperature. The temperature control settings on water heaters either indicate “low, medium, and high” or actual temperature settings. Simply consider turning down your water heater to a slightly cooler setting to reduce the amount of energy used to heat the water while still keeping the water warm enough for home use. In fact, each time you lower the temperature by 10°F you’ll save 3–5% on your water heating costs. That’s a savings of $6-$10 a year. *

2. In the winter, to make the most of what Mother Nature gives us—sunlight
Open drapes on south-facing windows to warm your home. Consider closing drapes in rooms that receive no direct sunlight to insulate from cold window drafts. At night, close drapes to retain heat. Up to 15% of your heat can escape through unprotected windows, but the solar heat gain from the sun during the day can conserve valuable energy.

3. Start by setting your thermostat to 68°
Your heating system will operate less and use less energy. Turn your thermostat down 5° at night or when leaving your home for an hour or more to save up to $70 on energy costs each year.**

4. If you have a clothes washing machine, use cold water.
Washing clothes in cold water will save you about $40 a year.
Low Cost

5. Replace your furnace or heat pump filter regularly.
Dirty filters reduce airflow, making your equipment work harder and use more energy. Replace your furnace filter monthly (unless it is a high efficiency filter designed to last several months) during the heating season to reduce heating costs by up to $35 a year.

6. Install a programmable thermostat.
It’s a cinch. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts your home's temperature settings when you're sleeping or away. Using a programmable thermostat can save you as much as 10%, or $70 a year.

7. Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.
It really helps! 1.8 gallon per minute showerheads can reduce your hot water consumption by as much as 10%. You’ll see savings up to $6 per year for a sink faucet aerator and $20 per year for a showerhead.

8. Switch to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.
They cost a little more, but you can save about $50 over the life of just one bulb.
Go Big

9. Weatherize and insulate older homes.
This saves up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. A handy homeowner can seal up holes to the outside by weather-stripping doors and sealing windows and gaps along the home’s foundation. The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. Other effective places to add insulation include unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces. Insulating walls can be more complex, so check with a contractor for advice. The average home can see a savings of $140 a year.

10. Purchase ENERGY STAR® appliances.
A smart choice. Appliances and electronics really contribute to your energy bill. When it is time to replace, remember items like refrigerators, washers, TVs and computers have two price tags--purchase price and lifetime energy cost. According to ENERGY STAR, the average homeowner spends about $2,000 on energy bills every year. Change to appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating, and you can save $75 a year in energy costs, while saving the environment.

1 comment:

butterfly valve said...

Nice post. Thanks for the info.