Ready to be an energy conservation detective?
Help Clark find energy waste in your home
“Clark here! If you want to reduce your impact on the environment while also saving your family some money, then take a look at our energy conservation tips.
With a little bit of detective-work, you can discover where your home might be wasting energy. Once you have your clues, talk to an adult about taking steps to fix the problems!”
Weatherizing buildings can prevent energy loss
In older buildings, weatherization should be a top priority. Winter is a great time of year to discover and correct a home’s thermal weak points – or drafts! – that we overlook during the milder seasons. Taking care of them now will not only help you stay warm and save on your energy bills, it’ll also help you stay cool in the summer.
Start at exterior doors and windows. Do you see any light between the door and frame? Then add weather stripping and perhaps a new threshold and sweep. If you can’t replace those parts right away, then a rolled-up towel at the base of the door will reduce air leaks.
Next, inspect the window exteriors to look for caulk. If the caulk is cracked or peeling, scrape it off and replace it. If there’s no caulk at all, then ask an adult to apply caulk to the window, both inside and out. Caulk is an affordable product that is easy to use with a little bit of research.
Another easy solution? Hanging heavy curtains (or even a blanket!) over windows. Heavy curtains will reduce air exchange between cold windows and the rest of the room. Or you can simply stay away from them. When you sit next to a window the heat from your body leaves to heat the cold air around that window. Moving furniture away from the windows this time of year is a great no-cost solution to staying warm.
Simple steps can keep you more comfortable
If your home has many wood, tile or stone floors, consider investing in a few area rugs. Not only will they soften a room’s aesthetic, they’ll help reduce the amount of heat loss at your floor.
Think about your home humidity level during the winter — especially if you have a wood stove or fire place. Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent to potentially improve breathing issues and reduce dry skin.
It might seem counter-intuitive, considering our region’s climate, but an adult might need to buy a home humidifier to maintain that range. If they invest in one, set a reminder to clean it regularly to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.
Program your thermostat for greater energy control
If your home has a thermostat that you can control, encourage the family to set the thermostat a few degrees lower than normal in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer.
Combined with our quick weatherization tips mentioned above, you can make your home more comfortable even when your system is working less. Plus, learn how to use a programmable thermostat if you have one. Once it’s set up, your home climate becomes one less thing to think about and the savings becomes automatic.
Unplug unused appliances to save energy and money
Do you spy any devices plugged in but not in use? Unplug them! When electronic devices are plugged in, they burn up energy even if they’re switched off.
Unplugging your appliances or using a smart-power strip saves money and energy. Smart-power strips automatically cut power to all devices when the main one isn’t in use. For example, a smart power strip can be used to cut power to DVD players, game consoles and speakers when the TV is turned off.
Consider switching from incandescent to LED lighting
When your existing light bulbs die, replace them with LEDs. Clark Public Utilities offers in-store rebates on LEDs through the Simple Steps program – look for the stickers in local stores – and will exchange burned out screw-in CFLs for two LEDs per household per day at any utility location and at the City of Battle Ground.
And of course, as adults probably tell you all the time: turn off the lights in a room you aren’t using!
If you’ve done all your detective work but think that there might still be places to save, have your parents reach out to Clark Public Utilities to see about scheduling an energy assessment with an Energy Counselor.