Take Small Energy Savings Steps to Put Cash in Your Pocket in 2012

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Achieve Energy Savings and Lower Bills with These Tips from NYSERDA

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Start saving energy in 2012!

Taking small steps to reduce home energy consumption all year long takes less effort and can result in big energy savings.

The new year is the perfect time to evaluate home energy use and make a stronger commitment to lead a more energy-efficient lifestyle. Experts agree that even taking small steps to reduce home energy consumption all year long takes less effort and can result in big energy savings.

Stay on track toward greater energy savings with these helpful tips from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA):

Watch out for build up: One of the easiest things to do is remove build-up in a clothes dryer’s lint trap before every load. Removing built up lint not only reduces the risk of fire but also will increase drying efficiency and could save the average consumer up to $34 per year. Additional savings can be found by consolidating loads and drying loads with similar fabrics together.

Keep water bills out of hot water: Identify—and fix—any water leaks in the home. Leaky faucets and showerheads, for example, can be a big source of waste. Repairing these fixtures can save up to $100 per year. And, don’t forget to inspect that hot water heater for leakage. At a rate of one drip per second, gallons of water can go down the drain in a short time, costing you money and wasting a valuable natural resource.

Seal the gaps: Air leaks can occur in some unusual and out-of-the-way places—crawl spaces, attics, overhangs, garages, porches and other architectural features, to name a few. NYSERDA experts suggest home owners have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor investigate these problem areas and make recommendations on how to tighten up those gaps. Sealing and insulating a home could increase its energy efficiency by up to 20 percent.

Improve air flow: Rearranging home furnishings can lead to year-round benefits. Organize furniture and rugs away from registers and heating return vents. For optimal comfort, make sure the connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls and ceiling.

Turn it off: Make a conscious effort to turn off electronics or appliances when they are not in use. If no one is watching TV—turn it off. Try using a power strip as a central “turn off” point for easy access in powering down multiple pieces of equipment—such as a DVD player, a Blu-RayTM player and a television—all at once. Once this becomes a simple habit, savings will climb higher for the rest of the year.

Count on the small things: When possible, use the smaller appliances in the kitchen, such as the microwave and toaster oven, especially when heating or re-heating small portions. Home chefs can use 80 percent less energy using these appliances rather than a conventional oven.

Clean and consolidate: Clean refrigerator coils—located underneath and behind the appliance—and repair any loose seals. Dirty coils and loose seals make the refrigerator work harder, causing it to use more energy. Homeowners that have a spare refrigerator may consider unplugging it or having it recycled – especially if it is only used occasionally. That old fridge in the garage or basement could be adding an additional $18 a month to the electronic bill!

Look for the star: When thinking about replacing electronics or appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These units have advanced features that improve energy efficiency. For more information on ENERGY STAR appliances, visit http://www.energystar.gov

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®: For more ways to save energy, ask an accredited Home Performance contractor to conduct a comprehensive home energy assessment, which is free for most New York homeowners. The contractor will discuss the energy improvements you can do in 2012 to save more on your utility bills, along with the incentives and financing available to make these improvements more affordable.

Consumers can find out how to qualify for a free or reduced-cost whole-house energy assessment in New York State, go to http://nyserda.ny.gov/home-performance

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

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Dayle Zatlin
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