As energy costs soar it’s important to develop a plan to deal with this challenge. This involves evaluating your consumption and investigating alternative sources of energy to supply your overall needs. The following seven steps can help you cut your energy costs:
1. Do an Energy Evaluation
Go through each room and determine what uses energy. The circuit breakers on your electrical box will show you the various electrical circuits. Also, go through the structure of each room, looking at the insulation and other areas that influence energy efficiency. If you don’t want to conduct the evaluation yourself, you can contact your local energy provider for an audit or hire an independent energy consultant. Home Energy Saver has an energy audit tool that can help you evaluate your energy usage.
2. Create a Plan
Draw up a plan for cutting your energy costs. This plan looks at how much you spend on energy as a whole. Then you can examine how energy can be used more efficiently and how to conserve it. Assign priorities in terms of your energy needs, creating an efficiency plan that details your strategies for cutting your energy costs through smart purchases, home improvements, reducing overall usage, and utilizing alternative sources of energy.
3. Track Your Energy Usage
Take regular electrical readings to determine how much you spend on electricity on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Also, track how much you spend on other energy sources such as propane gas. Read your electric meter by starting with the leftmost dial and reading the number the pointer indicates. If the pointer is between numbers, write down the lower number. When done, go to the next dial to the right and read it the same way, writing down the number. Moving to the right, write down the reading for each dial until you reach the end. By keeping track of these numbers, you can determine your daily usage patterns and note when usage spikes.
4. Evaluate Electronic Devices
Chart the energy use of each device, appliance, or machine in terms of your whole energy costs. The Federal Trade Commission requires that most home appliances have EnergyGuide labels on them. These labels estimate how much energy the device uses or how efficient it is. Generally you calculate the wattage of a device coupled with the amount it is used to give an idea of how much it is costing you.
5. Buy Products That Use Less Energy
Purchase products that consume less energy while still giving you the output you need for your operations. For example, energy-saving light bulbs use 23 watts of energy while delivering 100 watts of power. The Energy Star label designates products that are more energy-efficient by federal standards.
6. Reduce Your Energy Usage
Using less energy, such as heating in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer, while maintaining your lifestyle can be a real challenge. Turn off lights, appliances, and computers when not in use. Seal cracks in windows and doorways where heating and cooling can escape. Use the energy priorities outlined in your energy plan. Cut back on the areas that aren’t as important to you, while more efficiently maintaining the areas that are.
7. Use Alternative Forms of Energy
Alternative energy sources continue to increase, particularly as conventional forms of energy rise in price. Consumers in some areas can purchase renewable energy directly from power suppliers. In addition, you can use the sun, wind, and water for power. Solar cells, wind turbines, fuel cells, and hydropower stations continue to offer a low-cost alternative to energy in both your home and your business.