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The Secretary's Office of Environment 

Energy Efficiency Tips

November 5, 2017 marked the end of Daylight Saving Time and we will soon be losing a little bit of light each day.  In addition, the weather will be getting cooler.  Many people will start heating their homes and supplementing the natural light with indoor lighing. Since these activities tend to raise energy costs, MDOT TSO's Office of Environment will be focusing on energy efficiency and providing a few simple tips to help you save some money and improve your energy efficiency at home and on your way to work.

TRANSPORTATION

Use public transportation.  Try to use the train or bus to work whenever possible. The use of public transportation effectively reduces emissions and energy use in the transportation sectors.  One study estimated that total energy saved annually is equivalent to 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline. 

Plan ahead to reduce the number of your trips. A little planning ahead and organization can minimize the number of trips you need to make.  This can help to reduce your energy consumption, maximize time, and saves money.

Try telecommuting.  A 2011 study found that telecommuting saves the equivalent of 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, or roughly the amount of energy needed to power 1 million US households annually.

 

HEATING AND COOLING YOUR HOME

Conserve use of heating and cooling equipment.  Consider turning down the thermostat just two degrees and wearing sweaters to limit heating during the winter. In addition, limiting the use of an air conditioner or increasing the thermostat a little during summer months helps to save money and conserves energy.  Space heating and cooling is the largest energy expense in a home and accounts for more than half of a home’s energy consumption.

Install a programmable thermostat.  Consider installing a programmable thermostat.  You can schedule a programmable thermostat to lower or raise the temperature in your home according to the times when you are away or sleeping.   

Seal leaks around your home.  Caulk windows, seal leaks around recessed lights, sliding door draft guards, and chimneys.  These preventative measures could save you up to 20% of your heating costs.

Maintain your HVAC system.  Clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter can slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm which can cost you more money. Additionally, consider a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your HVAC system which can improve efficiency and lower costs. 

Keep windows and doors closed when heating or cooling your home.  Consider installing energy-efficient windows and better insulation. 

Use sunlight to your advantage.  During the winter, open curtains and window treatments during the day to allow sunlight to build up warm air and naturally heat your home.  During summer, keep blinds and shades closed to keep your home cooler.  Excess sunlight will make it harder to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Plant trees and shrubs around your yard.  Planting trees and shrubs around your home can help provide shading and prevent direct sunlight on your home during the summer.  

 

LIGHTING, APPLIANCES AND WATER USE

Switch to more energy-efficient lighting. Change out incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that are more energy efficient.  LEDs can last up to 25 times longer and consume 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs.  Switching just five frequently used incandescent light bulbs with LEDs could save you up to 9% on yearly energy costs.

Turn your lights off and unplug devices when you are not using them.  When possible, turn off your lights and unplug appliances, and electronic devices, such as TVs and computers. Even when turned off, many devices still consume energy in standby mode. If you can’t unplug, use a switchable power strip to turn off this standby mode for further energy savings.

Use your dishwasher more efficiently.  Instead of selecting the “rinse hold” setting, choose the air-drying function.  If your dishwasher doesn’t have an air-drying function, open the door at the end of the wash cycle and let your dishes air dry. 

Reduce the amount of hot water you use to conserve energy and save money.  Heating water consumes energy and can be the second largest energy expense in a home. Fixing leaky faucets, showerheads, and pipes and using as little hot water as possible, such as when showering, can help to reduce costs.

Use your clothes washer and dryer efficiently.  Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half. Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting. Wash your clothes with cold water using cold water detergents when possible.   

 

For more energy and money saving tips, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy Saver Guide and Energy Efficiency Day website.

 

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