Residential energy efficiency measures are often simple and easy to implement, resulting in a quick way to reduce your energy usage as well as monthly utility bills.  Whether you rent or own, several options for decreasing residential energy consumption exist and are worth investigating.

Reducing electricity use is a primary method for shaving dollars off your utility bills as well as decreasing your energy usage.  Residential lighting is an accessible place to start.  Three common energy-efficient lighting options include, (1) incandescent (or halogen) bulbs, (2) compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and (3) light emitting diode (LED).  Halogens provide roughly 25 percent energy savings over traditional incandescent bulbs, with CFLs and LED providing roughly 75 percent energy savings.  Although the savings may not seem like much on an individual level, the cumulative impact matters.

Purchasing energy efficient appliances and electronics is another method for decreasing energy use.  On average, appliances and electronics are responsible for 20 percent of the utility bill in a typical U.S. home.  If you are considering upgrading a major appliance (such as the washer/dryer or refrigerator), take the time to investigate purchasing an energy-efficiency model.  Although the upfront cost may be more, the impact on your utility bill and energy usage will offset your investment.  Also, several rebate programs exist, incentivizing the purchase of energy efficient appliances, which can further help to offset upfront costs.

Upgrading a major (or even small appliance) is not always in the budget.  However, simply being aware of your electricity uses and adjusting behavior can decrease your usage.  It is easy to leave lights on or unused electronics plugged-in, but this habit contributes to unnecessary energy usage and higher electricity bills.  Using a power strip allows you to easily turn-off the strip when you know electronics or appliances will not be in use for a period of time.  Many computers available today have their own power management features, automatically putting the monitor and CPU in “sleep mode”, helping to reduce energy usage.  You can adjust these power management settings to fit your user needs.  It is best if you can completely power down your computer, but this will not always practical.  But if you are headed on vacation or know you will be away for a while, consider unplugging your television and powering off computers.

Increasing insulation and filling any gaps in your home’s protective envelope can reduce heating and cooling costs.  One quick, easy, and inexpensive way to reduce summertime cooling bills that isn’t widely known is to install perforated radiant barrier in your attic – this aluminum based product will reflect the heat of the sun back out of your house before it has a chance to heat up your attic and upper floors.  In your living spaces you’ll want to do a draft test around all of your windows, doors, and outlets to determine if you have air leaks that could be filled – this will keep warm air in during the cold months, and prevent the hot air from outdoors invading your home in the summer.  It always helps to max out the R value of your fiberglass or cellulose insulation too, but that can be a bigger investment than tackling the attic and gaps.

As a home-owner or landlord, getting an energy assessment or audit can help you determine the efficiency of your property’s heating and cooling systems.  The assessment can tell you the trouble areas (if any) that when corrected can result in significant economic and energy savings over time.  Several sources and websites exist that detail steps for a “do-it-yourself” energy assessment.  Your local utility may actually perform them, or can recommend energy audit companies.


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One Response to “Slash Utility Bills with an Energy Audit”

  • Tiago says:

    Of course they canThey exetednd you credit and you didn’t repay them according to the contract (it’s like 5 or 6 pages that you have to sign to take out these loans, lots of small print that informs you they can report you if you do not pay) Depends on what the class action suit is about. The thing is, by the time the class action suit is ironed out, it would either be off your report (aged off) or you will be sued by them or the collection agency they sell your debt to, so it won’t matter.

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