With our A/Cs running overtime and the hottest months of the year right around the corner, now is a great time to sit down and examine where we can cut some energy costs before our homes’ utility bills shoot through the roof.
I recently signed up for my own Microsoft Hohm account in hopes of finding some simple ways I could cut down on my home’s energy use. The name Hohm comes from a combination of the words “home” and “ohm” which is a measurement unit in the energy field. Still in the early stages, the purpose of this free online application is to help us better understand our homes’ energy usage, and make recommendations for conserving energy so that we can start saving now. By answering a short set of questions about your home such as the zip code, its size, and the year it was built, Microsoft Hohm creates a personalized energy report for your home and makes recommendations of ways you can start saving energy and money. Hohm also offers users information on all sorts of energy saving subjects from energy efficient windows to the annual costs of using your hair dryer.
Here are just some of the simple energy saving recommendations from Microsoft Holm:
- Set your computer to hibernate or use sleep mode when idle – you could save between $25 and $75 a year by using power management on one computer, according to Energy Star®.
- Lower the water temperature of your water heater – for every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature of your water heater, you can save between 3 and 5 percent on your energy bill.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs like CFL and LED lights – Energy Star® says you could save $30 in energy costs over the life of a CFL bulb by replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a 32-watt CFL.
- Install and program a programmable thermostat – you can save 3 to 5 percent on home heating for every degree you lower the temperature below 68 in the winter.
- Get your air ducts professionally sealed – a home with central heating can lose nearly two-thirds of its warm air before it even reaches the vents, according to the Department of Energy.
Not only has the need to cut energy costs impacted how we live in our homes, but it’s also affected how new home builders build our homes. Click here for a full list of Energy Star® approved new home builders who have strived and succeeded to meet the strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), building their homes to be 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.
So have you already taken steps to improve your current home’s energy usage? Tell us what energy saving ideas you have adapted into your everyday life.