It's always a good time to save energy.
We talked with Allyson Schmutter, spokesperson for the national nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy, who offered these five tips for saving energy and money:
1. Unplug All Those Devices: Believe it or not, many devices still consume energy even when turned off. The typical culprits are televisions and cable boxes, or anything that stays lit with an LED or standby light even when turned off. Schmutter says those devices can suck a month’s worth of electricity from your home each year.
2. Change Your Bulbs: If you haven't already switched your incandescent bulbs out for more energy-efficient options, now's the time to do it. You'll save 75 percent by switching to CFL bulbs. Not sold on CFLs? Take a look at this light bulb checklist for more ideas.
3. Cook Up Some Energy Savings: Did you know matching your pan to the burner can actually save energy? For example, experts estimate that 40 percent of energy is lost when you use a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner.
Another way to save energy in the kitchen is to keep your refrigerator between 37° to 40°F and your freezer at 5°F, and allow hot food to cool before putting it in the refrigerator. The folks at Edison Electric Institute have a thorough list of suggestions for optimizing your fridge's efficiency, including locating it away from direct sunlight when possible. Every little bit helps!
4. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water: Washing clothes in cold water is a great electricity saver, Schmutter says. “When you’re thinking about savings, you spend the most money washing clothes in hot water because 90 percent of that energy goes to heating the water.”
Detergents and washing machines are now more efficient than ever, so hot water really isn’t all that necessary anymore. Look for detergents made specifically for washing in cold water, Schmutter suggests.
5. Research Your Appliances: Home energy management systems now come with appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, Schmutter says. When you’re in the market for something new, be sure it’s energy-efficient.
The Sears Hardware store in Herndon and local Lowe's locations (the closest to Fairfax City is in Chantilly) carry Energy Star appliances.
Dominion Geothermal in Fairfax also carries Energy Star products.
TELL US: How do you save energy at home? Share your ideas in the comments section below.