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Energy Efficiency

The following tips will help curb energy use at home:

Turn down the Thermostat. Ideally, keep your home heated to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 at night. Use extra blankets and sweaters instead of turning up the heat. Likewise, in the summer, dress cool to save on air conditioning costs and energy.

Lower your water temperature. Turn your heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll cut your water-heating costs by 6-10 percent.

Purchase Energy Efficient Products and Equipment. By looking for the Energy Star label on products and equipment, you can reduce your energy bill by 30 percent and your electric lighting charges by 40 percent while cutting pollution.

Insulate the house. Make sure your house is well insulated and, if heated or cooled, never leave windows or doors open. Raise shades on winter days; lower them in the summer. Seal all leaks. Block windows and doors with weatherstrip tape and inexpensive door sweeps and install blinds to reduce outside heat transfer. Install storm windows—they are added insulation for your home.

Insulate pipes and fixtures. Insulate the hot water heater and heating and cooling pipes. An insulation blanket for a water heater will pay for itself in a year or less and will reduce heat loss by 25-40 percent. Seal little holes around water pipes and stuff insulation into big holes around plumbing fixtures. Also, by covering waterbeds, you produce insulation and save up to 1/3 of the energy it uses.

Replace your showerhead. By using a low-flow showerhead, you reduce water consumption and energy usage to heat the water. They pay for themselves in only four months.

Turn unused appliances and equipment off. Turn off equipment and lights at night and on weekend - unplug appliances when they are not in use.

Use fluorescent lighting. By replacing your light fixtures with energy conserving fluorescent bulbs, you will save 75 percent of the energy used with incandescent bulbs. If you currently have fluorescent lighting, consider using a more efficient type that has an electronic ballast that burns cooler.

Clean or replace filters regularly. Be sure to check furnace, air-conditioner, and heat pump filters regularly. By cleaning your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, your units will last longer, avoid costly down time, and improve indoor air quality.

Increase natural light. Paint your exterior and interior walls in a light color so more light is reflected. Paint the edges of the window in white so more light reflected inside. During the day, open blinds to bring in natural light instead of turning on lights.

Reduce paper usage. By double siding on copiers, reusing single-sided paper, using electronic mail, and circulating documents with routing slips, an organization can save a significant amount of energy and natural resources. One ton of waste paper saves enough energy to power an average home for 6 months.

Use public transportation or carpool. Not only does this save energy costs, but it extends the life of your vehicle.

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