Three Ways to Save Money and Reduce Energy Use this Fall and Winter
Fall temperatures are returning to Chicago. Whether you rejoice in the cooler weather or mourn the end of warm summer days, now is the right time to take stock of your energy usage ahead of the winter, either at your home, apartment, or buildings you own.
Small Behavior Changes to Save Every Day
There are several easy, no-cost behavior changes you can make to use less energy throughout the day. Here are a few ideas:
Let the sun shine in. Opening blinds or curtains will help both illuminate and warm your home without the need to turn on artificial lights or turn up the thermostat. As fall approaches, daylight hours are typically long enough to light your space, even for most early risers. Close the curtains at night to keep the warmth in.
Avoid heating your home more than necessary. Close vents and doors in unused rooms and lower your thermostat a few degrees while you are gone during the day to maintain a balance between comfort and savings. Programmable and smart thermostats can make this even easier to do.
Listen to mom and bundle up! Turn your thermostat down at night and add an extra blanket to your bed to further reduce your energy consumption.
Make regular and basic improvements a part of your routine, like replacing your furnace filter every 30-60 days for more savings. A clean and efficient furnace works less which means you’ll spend less. Another good habit is to check your ceiling fans and switch the direction to clockwise to force warm air down during the fall and winter.
For more, see this post on five small changes to save energy for free 24/7.
Get the Good Gadgets
There are many energy and water efficiency gadgets to help you save even more on your energy bills. Here are a few easy-to-use and relatively affordable items that we like:
Halloween is around the corner; have you checked your home for “energy vampires?” Energy vampires are appliances that draw energy or “phantom loads” when they are plugged in but not in use. Consider a smart power strip to combat vampire power.
Reduce drafts around doors and windows with additional weather-stripping, window insulation kits, or draft stoppers.
Decorating for the holidays? You’ll save more money this holiday season when you use LED holiday lights which last longer and are more reliable and energy efficient than older styles of holiday lights.
Consider a smart thermostat that adjusts to your daily energy usage patterns and can be controlled remotely!
For more, see this post on cool gadgets to take your savings to the next level and reach out to us to see if there are any available incentives to get some of these items for even less.
Schedule a Home Energy Assessment
While there are many small things you can do to save energy now, some measures will inevitably require more planning and upfront investment. For example, whole-home or attic air sealing and insulation can reduce air leaks which can account for as much as 40% of a home’s energy loss. The easiest way to understand how your home is performing is to schedule an energy assessment, during which certified analysts use tools like blower doors and infrared cameras to measure energy loss and determine the most cost-effective measures for your home or building. The best way to get started is to reach out to our team at 855-372-8377, via email at buildings@ElevateNP.org, or complete this basic form.
What if I rent?
Live in an apartment? First, you’re in popular company – three out of four Chicagoans live in a multifamily building. If you’re not the owner of your building, feel free to pass our name on to your property manager or building owner. They may be eligible for utility program incentives to make improvements that reduce costs for everyone! Depending on where you live, we may also have programs to help you save; fill out this homeowners and renters form to see what’s available.
This fall, why not commit to do your part to reduce energy use and create a more comfortable home? Whether you adopt new energy-saving behaviors, add new gadgets, or schedule a home energy assessment, we’re here to provide guidance every step of the way. Get in touch with us at 855-372-8377 or buildings@ElevateNP.org.