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Even in Extreme Heat, Every New England Home Can Save Energy and Money
Release Date: 07/31/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. - July 31, 2006) - While everyone who drives a car is keenly aware of higher fuel costs, sometimes it is easy to overlook the rising energy costs to power our homes. Rising gasoline costs reflect a growing price for all energy - electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and propane are up by 20 to more than 30 percent - which has dramatic implications for running our households.
With gas prices topping $3 a gallon encouraging us to reduce our driving, we should also consider strategies to save money by reducing energy used when we wash dishes, run a load of laundry or cool our homes. One of the most simple, but effective, ways to save energy is to replace a light bulb.
If all 5.3 million New England households replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb, our states and residents would save more than $36 million a year and reduce energy demand by 431 million kilowatt-hours – preventing as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as taking 55,200 vehicles off the road.
The average home uses more energy and is responsible for more pollution than a typical vehicle. Energy burned to power the buildings where we live and work accounts for a significant portion of the air pollution in New England. The average American household spends $1,900 per year on energy – and New Englanders typically spend about 25 percent more. Nearly half the bill goes to heating and cooling.
The silver lining here is that there are significant savings to be found with better energy efficiency. Roughly a third of the energy used in all buildings in the U.S. – homes as well as commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings – is wasted. Thus, a typical home can cut 30 percent or more from its energy bills with basic energy upgrades.
From the way you cool and heat your home to the choices you make in an appliance store, there are a number of simple steps you can take to make your home energy demands easier on the environment and on your pocketbook. Here are a few examples:
- ENERGY STAR : When you replace appliances or shop for electronics, look for the Energy Star label on lamps, dishwashers, clothes washer and dryers, air conditioners, DVD players or any one of 35 other products. Energy Star clothes washers use half the energy of other machines; Energy Star lights and fixtures use just one-third the energy of standard fixtures. Consumer electronics account for 15 percent of household electricity use. Many electronics products use energy even when switched off. Electronics equipment with the Energy Star label save energy when off. Better yet, all Energy Star products deliver these savings without sacrificing quality.
These and other energy saving measures make sense from the point of view of your family’s budget. But they also help preserve the forests, trees and rivers, the air around you and the water you drink. Energy is the biggest source of air pollution contributing to global warming, acid rain and mercury and other toxic substances in our air, water, and soil. Plus, these steps help our country reduce its dependency on foreign oil.
More Energy Star information on Cooling Your World (energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home)
To learn more about how to save energy in your home, Energy Star has a “Home Energy Yardstick” to show how your home performs compared to others, and provides useful tips about improving energy efficiency. See: (energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_energy_yardstick.index)
By Robert W. Varney
New England Regional Office
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency