Editor’s note: The following article and courtesy photo were provided by Colorado Springs Utilities, Fort Carson’s utility provider.
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Taking time to improve water and energy efficiency pays off year-round. As summer turns to fall, it is the perfect weather to work inside and outside.
Natural gas prices globally are expected to rise over the winter months, which makes efficient use of that supply more important. Locally, Colorado Springs City Council approves rate adjustments quarterly. As a publicly owned utility, increases or decreases in the cost of natural gas are passed directly to the customers.
Increasing home efficiency can help curb rising energy demand and lower costs. These tips are affordable and shouldn’t take much time.
Luckily, for some items with a slightly higher upfront cost, Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities) offers rebates. These rebates span from efficient appliances to smart devices. To kick off the list, work smarter, not harder.
Smart thermostat — Springs Utilities offers a $50 rebate on qualifying devices to utility customers living off post. This simple upgrade can save 15 percent or more annually on heating and cooling. Control the temperature anywhere using a smartphone, create schedules or turn the temperature up or down when away. These thermostats are usually an easy install, so a do-it-yourself job makes this a very affordable option to kick-off energy efficiency.
Plugs, outlets and power strips — Make “dumb” appliances smart. These smart devices allow more control over energy consumption. One of the biggest wastes of energy in homes is phantom load or vampire energy — the power electronics use in standby mode. Setting a schedule through the smart device apps can put a stake in vampire energy when you are asleep or away from home.
Heating system — Filters should be checked monthly and if dirty replaced. As seasons change, it is a good reminder to swap filters. Before cold weather is here to stay, get a professional furnace tune-up. These annual appointments can catch issues early, which helps to heed off costly major repairs and an inefficient system.
Sealing doors and windows — Use weather stripping and caulk to seal drafty windows and doors. These products cost around $20 and can save up to 20% on cooling and heating costs. There’s plenty of do-it-yourself videos online to turn a novice sealer into an expert.
Use or lose the sun — In warmer weather, open doors and windows in the morning to let in cool air. Shut those windows and doors as the temps outside begin to rise, then draw shades to cut out direct heat from the sun. In colder weather, do the opposite. Open shades or curtains to take advantage of the heat from the sun. Living a mile high has its benefits, especially the sun’s natural warmth.
Ceiling fan direction — Most fans have a switch to change the fan blade direction. This switch is VERY important depending on the time of year. On warmer days, ceiling fans should be set to counterclockwise to push cool air down. The opposite is true for colder days, flip the switch to clockwise so warm air near the ceiling is pushed up and spread throughout the room.
Indoors — Over half of indoor water use takes place in the bathroom. Turn off the water when brushing teeth and reduce shower times (five minutes total is optimal). For $24 or less, install a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sponsored, WaterSense®-certified showerhead that will save nearly 3,000 gallons of water a year without sacrificing satisfaction.
Outdoors — Follow the water-wise rules. Water landscapes up to three times a week during the summer before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. When temps start to cool in the fall, decrease watering one to two days per week. Springs Utilities also offers rebates on smart irrigation controllers, rain sensors and sprinklers to help with efficiency.
Find more efficiency tips and rebates on Springs Utilities’ website at https://www.csu.org.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.