Save Energy, Save Money
Saving Energy in your home is a great place to reduce both your greenhouse gas emissions and your energy bill.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills. The electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars.
If you are a homeowner, you can make a variety of energy efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce your family’s personal energy consumption. A home energy audit is a great way to pinpoint areas where your home is losing energy, and you can find opportunities to adopt more effective measures that will cut your energy costs.
Easy Action Tips
Participate in the Denver Energy Challenge
The Denver Energy Challenge is a free energy program provided by the City and County of Denver’s Department of Environmental Health. The program provides free energy advising to residents in order to help cut energy waste, while saving money and increasing indoor air quality and comfort. Once signed up residents also have access to exclusive low-cost energy loans for their small or large projects. Call 720-865-5520 to speak with a live energy expert and sign up today. Learn more at: DenverEnergy.org.
Use Compact Florescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are serious energy savers. They emit as much light as conventional incandescent bulbs, but they use up to 75 percent less energy. They fit in standard sockets, cost less than $3 a bulb, and can last up to 5-10 years depending on usage. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with one compact fluorescent bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.
Do CFLs contain mercury? Yes. But the truth is that the quantity of mercury in CFLs is dramatically small— between five and six milligrams (depending on wattage). That’s an amount so small that it would fit on the tip of a ball point pen and is less than you might have in dental fillings in your teeth.
How do I dispose of CFL bulbs? Take old CFL bulbs to any Ace Hardware or Home Depot store for proper disposal, or dispose of old bulbs in a Household Hazardous Waste pickup—FREE from the city. Call 1-800-449-7587.
Do CFLs work in dimmers? If a light fixture is connected to a dimmer or three-way socket fixture, you’ll need to use a special ENERGY STAR qualified CFL designed to work in these applications. Make sure to look for CFLs that specify use with dimmers or three-way fixtures.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you’re away or sleeping. When used properly, you can save between 5-15 percent on your energy bill if you heat and cool rooms only when necessary.
Buy Energy Star Appliances
Appliances account for about 20 percent of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers at the top of the list. Look for ENERGY STAR® choices when you upgrade your appliances. A new refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR uses at least 15 percent less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40 percent less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers use 25 percent less, and clothes washers use 50 percent less energy. Visit www.energystar.gov for a product guide and helpful appliance purchasing tips.
Buy WindSource Energy
WindSource by Xcel Energy is a voluntary program for customers who want to support the development of renewable energy in Colorado. Your participation means more renewable energy is available on Xcel Energy’s system. Buying one block of WindSource each month for a year has the environmental benefit of planting a half-acre of trees or not driving your car 2,400 miles, according to statistics from the EPA.
When you participate in WindSource, you choose the level of commitment that’s right for you. You decide how many blocks of WindSource to buy. Each block of WindSource represents 100-kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the average home uses approximately 800 kWh per month. On average, you can have 100% of your energy supplied through WindSource for less than $10 per month (in addition to your usual monthly energy charge. )