SUPER Energy Saving Tips
Switch to LEDs
LED lights use far less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, last longer, look brighter, and are more durable than other types of bulbs. Downtown Holland has already taken significant action through the City of Holland Downtown Pedestrian Lighting LED Retrofit Project. So far, Holland has retrofitted over 300 downtown street lamps with LED bulbs, reducing lighting expenses and greenhouse gas emissions. Now it is time for Holland residents and homeowners to get involved.
Watch the video below to see how Ashley impressed her guests with her new LEDs!
In the average home, 10% of energy cost is spent on lighting. When compared to conventional incandescent light bulbs, LEDs cut energy consumption by more than 80% and LED lights can last 25 to 50 times longer. All of this adds up to significant savings. It is estimated that switching solely to LED light bulbs can save the average homeowner more than $150 on lighting annually.
Holland’s goal as a participant in the Georgetown University Energy Prize is to reduce energy consumption by 4% for each of the next two years. You can help Holland reach that goal by switching to LEDs. The average home has 47 light bulbs; we challenge YOU to replace your 5 most used light bulbs to LEDs.
Holland Board of Public Works wants to help you get started saving energy. By purchasing ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs, you can qualify for a money back rebate worth $5.50 per light bulb. You will save money on your purchase and on energy bills simply by making the switch to high-efficiency bulbs.
Most homes have nearly 50 electrical items plugged in at all times, from televisions to coffee makers; electronic chargers to hair dryers. Even when they are not in use, these electrical items leech energy and cost money. This phenomenon is called phantom power.
Watch Charlie tell his owner about phantom power!
It is estimated that 10% of the average energy bill is wasted on phantom power. Whether electrical devices are on or off, if they are plugged in, they are using electricity. This leeching really adds up – Americans waste approximately one month’s energy bill each year on phantom power loads.
Go into your living room, kitchen, or bathroom and turn off all the lights. Anything you see glowing – the little green or red lights from electronic devices on standby – is likely a culprit of phantom power. Holland challenges you to combat this unnecessary waste, and the solutions are easy. Unplug devices like chargers and toasters when they are not in use; use smart power strips that turn off automatically when they detect a device is on standby; purchase low-standby devices, like ENERGY STAR rated products – most of which are eligible for rebates.
Reducing your phantom power load will cut your personal energy consumption and that savings will show in your energy bill. On average, homeowners pay for the equivalent of an extra month of energy use each year because of phantom power. Reduce your load and reap the savings.
Prepare your furnace
A multidimensional approach is necessary to understand efficiency in your home’s heating and cooling systems. Improve the comfort and efficiency of your home by getting a home energy audit. By assessing your home, a professional can pinpoint where your home is losing energy and help you understand what upgrades could help you save up to 30% on your energy bills.
Watch as Michael prepares his home and furnace!
Did you know that energy used for heating and cooling is the largest expense in the average American home, accounting for about 45% of the typical energy bill? However, simply replacing your furnace or air conditioner is only treating symptoms of a larger problem. For example, combining all the cracks and holes in a typical house amounts to a 3×3 foot hole in the wall. Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs and make your home more comfortable.
Holland challenges you to understand and improve the efficiency of your home. A home energy audit is a good place to begin, but there are many methods that can transform your home’s relationship with energy.
Maintain your current system:
- Regularly clean and change the filter in your furnace and cooling unit.
- Remove dirt, soot, or corrosion from your furnace, and clean the heat exchanger to maintain heating levels.
- Ensure air ducts and heating pipes are properly sealed.
Cut your heating and cooling bill:
- Use a programmable or learning thermostat, such as a NEST, to automatically adjust the temperature of your home when you are away or asleep.
- Air seal your home and add insulation to your walls and attic to help retain heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
- Weather strip around your doors and windows to keep air from escaping.
Replace your furnace or air conditioner with a high-efficiency model.
Living in a climate where winter weather can often last up to 6 months of the year, Hollanders know that heating a home gets very expensive, very quickly. Holland BPW wants to help you combat sky-high heating costs. If you replace your furnace with a high-efficiency model, you may qualify for a significant rebate. Addressing home envelope deficiencies, such as cracks, holes, and drafty windows and doors, can reduce your energy bill by up to 25%. SEMCO Energy also offers many rebates when you take steps to increase the efficiency of your home. Save money, improve your home’s comfort and safety, and reduce your environmental impact – living efficiently is hugely beneficial.
Eliminate old appliances
Appliances account for 13% of a household’s energy costs. Refrigeration is at the top of this list because unlike most appliances, refrigerators must run at all times to ensure contents stay fresh, cool, and safe. Looking for easy ways to cut your energy consumption? The refrigerator is good place to begin.
Most American homes have a refrigerator that is at least 10 years old and spend approximately $60 per year to run this low-efficiency appliance. That dollar amount increases significantly when two fridges are in use.
If you have two refrigerators, Holland challenges you to eliminate your second model. Using only one refrigerator drastically reduces the total energy consumption by appliances.
If you are looking to upgrade your old, inefficient refrigerator, Holland challenges you to choose an ENERGY STAR qualified model. Current ENERGY STAR qualified models use around 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.
Simple methods to improve your refrigerator’s efficiency include keeping the temperature of your fridge between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer set at 0 degrees F; keeping your refrigerator full so that the contents insulate each other; defrosting your freezer often to avoid straining your appliance; and cleaning your refrigerator coils to improve efficiency by 6%.
If everyone purchasing a refrigerator this year chose an ENERGY STAR certified model, together it would save 715 million kWh per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 100,000 cars. However, energy efficiency isn’t the only reason to switch to an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator. If you are retiring a refrigerator, Holland BPW will pick up your outdated refrigerator, recycle it, and provide you with a $50 rebate. Holland BPW also provides a $25 rebate for replacing your current refrigerator with a qualifying ENERGY STAR model.
Reduce water temps
Heating water accounts for a staggering 17% of household energy consumption. The hot water necessary for showers, dishwashers, and washing machines adds up quickly and places a significant burden on your hot water heater.
Hot water heaters are very power intensive, using, on average, 400 kilowatts per month to heat showers, clean dishes, and wash clothing. The average shower head pumps out 5 gallons of water per minute, so for every ten minute shower, you could be using 50 gallons of heated water. 90% of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating water.
There are many methods for reducing your hot water consumption; it’s time to take action – starting from the source! Holland challenges you to become familiar with your hot water heater through simple steps that will improve efficiency. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater to no higher than 120 degrees. Insulate the hot water storage tanks and first 6 feet of pipes connected to the tank to avoid losing heat during storage and transport. Remove a quart of water every three months to limit sediment buildup that can lower the unit’s efficiency. To drastically change your electricity consumption, switch to an ENERGY STAR high efficiency water heater.
Take action in other areas:
- When washing your clothes, be sure to turn your washing machine setting to COLD.
- Replace inefficient showerheads with low-flow shower heads, saving energy and using around half the water.
- Switch to and ENERGY STAR certified washing machine or dishwasher to ensure the highest efficiency.
Reducing your hot water use not only saves electricity, it also conserves one of our most precious resources – WATER. Living beside the Great Lakes, Hollanders understand the importance of conservation. Holland BPW and SEMCO Energy want to help your home become more energy efficient, which is why you may qualify for rebates when replacing your dishwasher or outdated hot water heater with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR models. Taking action to reduce your environmental impact can pay off in a big way.