It’s that time of year again. The holidays are officially over. We’re putting away the decorations and the treats and making lists of what we hope to accomplish this year. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions will be to lose weight and get fit, but the average treadmill uses between 600 and 700 watts of energy meaning a quick workout is the equivalent of leaving 50 CFL light bulbs on for 30 minutes.
This year, head outside to walk, run or bike instead and resolve to save energy and money in 2016 by participating in the Conway Corp Energy Smart Challenge. The Challenge helps Conway residents make home energy upgrades easy and affordable. Customers can work at their own pace choosing to start with small upgrades like replacing old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, or they can request a free energy audit from Conway Corp to identify goals and develop a tailored plan for their home. Zero percent interest loans are even available for many upgrades including attic insulation and appliances.
No matter how large or small you start, saving energy is a resolution you can stick with that will save you money in the long run while making your home more comfortable too. Start with these five tips and put them into action in the next three months – you will definitely start to notice changes.
START USING POWER STRIPS
Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called energy vampires, these devices cost families more than $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. And be sure to unplug your chargers – they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.
REPLACE INEFFICIENT LIGHTING
About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs. By just replacing five of your home's most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LED bulbs.
Installing and setting a programmable thermostat can save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs while switching to ENERGY STAR certified appliances can save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the item.
REDUCE WATER HEATING EXPENSE
Water heating is a large energy expense in your home, accounting for about 14-18 percent of your utility bills. By taking low-cost steps, you can reduce your water heating bills. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Install low-flow showerheads or temperature-sensitive shower valves. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.
BENCHMARK YOUR ENERGY USAGE
Staring down 12 months of utility bills can be daunting, but benchmarking is a key step toward seeing how your current enrgy usage stacks up, prioritizing your projects and ultimately making a dent in your utility bills. The myConwayCorp app is a great resource for the past 13 months of electric and water usage in your home.
Set an energy-saving goal that will both challenge you and serve as an attainable milestone to reach by year-end. Aim to reduce energy use by 5 percent or save $300 from last year. Whatever your goal – set it and work towards it.
Once you’ve made the commitment, click here to officially sign up to take the Energy Smart Challenge and pledge to reduce your energy usage and footprint in 2016. You will find other ideas and tips for energy efficiency along with information on free residential energy audits and zero percent interest loans for qualified energy efficient improvements.
Customers who register to take the Energy Smart Challenge will be entered to win a $100 Lowe’s gift card to help with energy efficiency improvements around the home. Winner will be selected by random drawing and announced February 1, 2016.