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Saving Energy = Saving Money

Earlier this fall, you may have read about the predicted energy cost increase this winter. According to an article published by the Brookings Register on Oct. 7, 2021 titled “PUC: Prepare for higher natural gas bills this winter”, the reason is multi-fold including an increase in demand for natural gas, low production due to hurricanes earlier this year, and adjustments from the country’s freezing cold snap last February. These price adjustments will increase bills 50% to 100% compared to last year.

These numbers probably made you take a step back. You may have even asked yourself, how cool can I keep my house and still be comfortable? And while students living in the residence halls don’t pay for energy costs, energy conservation is always important to keep in mind not just to minimize costs, but also to reduce our impact on the environment.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly 80% of the US energy needs are provided by fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These energy sources contribute to human and environmental issues such as climate change and health impacts. Renewable energy is growing (installing solar on your home is a great way to provide clean energy to your home!), but energy conservation will continue to play a critical role from an environmental perspective because the less energy we need the less energy we must make, which minimizes the negative impacts from product extraction and burning fossil fuels.

So, what can each of us do to minimize our energy use this winter?

According to Energy.gov, lowering your temperature by seven to ten degrees for eight hours can save 10% on costs. Temperatures can be turned down when you are asleep or away for class or work so you may not even notice! Programmable thermostats are a great way to easily adjust your temperature without having to think about it. Furthermore, Energy.gov recommends that homes be heated to 68 degrees when you are home.

Winter is a great time to show off your sweaters and stay warm in your house. Don’t hesitate to wear thermal underwear or shirts underneath. These do wonders to keeping you warm. They fit easily underneath a variety of clothing and can’t be seen!

There is nothing like natural sunshine to warm up a house. Make sure to open your shades during the day and let the sunshine naturally warm your rooms. Don’t forget to close the shades at night. The insulation from shades helps block the cold night air from entering your home. Good shades are important for energy conservation, too. Multiple celled honeycomb shades are a top choice!

While they are present all year round, drafts are especially noticeable during the winter. Prevent drafts from entering your home by fixing any holes, covering old windows with a plastic window insulator kit, and placing door snakes by the threshold of doors.