The days are getting shorter and the air is growing cooler. Winter is coming, which means rising energy bills to heat and light your home. Investing in the right technology and taking measures to save energy will help keep costs from soaring as the temperatures drop.
Energy.gov recommends installing a programmable thermostat to save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs. Turning down the thermostat when away from home can reduce energy costs; however, nobody wants to be greeted by a freezing home at the end of the day. The Nest Home Thermostat is a smart accessory that learns your schedule and programs itself to adjust temperatures when you’re away from home. The thermostat can be controlled remotely with the Nest Mobile app for iOS or Android. Setup is simple, and a monthly energy report is sent via email to help show energy usage.
Other cost-saving tips include opening curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home and lowering the water heater temperature to 120 degrees or less.
About 10 percent of your energy bill comes from lighting costs. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is a way to save money. Philips Hue 8W BR30 Connected Downlight Starter Pack provides a brighter, more focused beam of light with each bulb lasting up to 15,000 hours. With geofencing, you can also program Hue lights to come on when you're arriving home or to turn off when you're leaving. For additional help, the Light Bulb Finder app takes information about current light bulbs and recommends more energy-efficient alternatives. Light Bulb Finder provides locations of the nearest points-of-purchase for the light bulbs being recommended.
If controlling heat and lights isn’t enough, there are ways to monitor all the electricity usage throughout your home. The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch can monitor the energy use of your appliances and provide custom usage alerts. The switch can be operated remotely from your smartphone or tablet so lamps, fans, washers and dryers, and even TVs can be shut off when not in use.
Apps to help consumers manage their energy consumption are also available. The Kill-Ur-Watts app assesses Green Button energy data supplied by the electric utility company to provide the big picture of overall energy use. The app calculates annual, monthly, daily or hourly usage and displays a graphical representation of each.
With knowledge of all the resources available, it is easier than ever to create winter energy management strategies that work for your home.
Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.