5 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs in 2024

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If you’ve noticed that your utility bills are on the rise, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average electric bill for U.S. residential customers in 2022 was $137 per month — a total of $1,600 a year. Despite these steep prices, there area number of things you can do to proactively reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, and we couldn’t think of a better reason to come up with an action plan. Here are five tips for getting started:

  1. Schedule a home energy audit. A home energy audit is akin to a physical health checkup for your home. A certified energy auditor can inspect your home and conduct diagnostic tests to make recommendations for making your home a more efficient, comfortable and healthy living space. Whether it’s identifying faulty window seals or recommending more efficient fixtures, an energy auditor can help you uncover what may be draining unnecessary energy from your home. You can find an auditor via the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score program, the Building Performance Institute, or your local power company. While most     audits come with a fee, some local utility companies will offer an audit for free.
  1. Turn down the lights. Keeping the lights on in your home can account for up to 15% of a home’s energy usage. To cut down on costs, switch to LED lighting throughout your home, especially products with the Energy Star label. Make sure to turn off lights when you are not using them. You can also consider installing dimmer switches that allow you to save electricity (while setting the mood). After making these changes, monitor your monthly electric bill for savings and make additional adjustments as needed.
  1. Unplug unused appliances. How many appliances do you have plugged in that you don’t use on a regular basis? Think coffee makers, charging cables, cable boxes, toasters, etc. These “vampire” appliances are wasting electricity when they’re not even being utilized. Unplugging them — or leaving them plugged into a power strip that you can switch off — can quickly add up in energy savings. When an appliance can’t be unplugged, like a thermostat, for example, you may be able to use eco mode, which will shut off or go into sleep mode when a certain temperature is reached or you are away.
  1. Scale back on hot water. You may be surprised to learn that hot water accounts for an estimated 20% of home energy use. One easy way to cut down on hot water consumption is to wash your clothes in cold water, especially since most detergents are designed for 65 degree water temperatures. While taking a cold shower isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, another suggestion is to turn down the resting temperature of your water heater. Most water heaters are preset at 140 degrees, 20 degrees above the Department of Energy's recommendation. When using your dishwasher, look for the eco mode, which reduces the amount of hot water used as well.
  1. Sign up for Community Solar. One of the most impactful ways to cut down on your energy costs is by signing up for Community Solar. In fact, Community Solar customers save an average of 15% per month, savings that can add up quickly. Community Solar is an excellent way for an entire community to have access to the benefits of solar energy without any equipment, installation or change to your rooftop needed. Community Solar subscribers continue receiving electricity from their utility company so there’s no interruption in service. The energy generated by the community solar facilities is sent directly into the local power grid, thereby increasing the total amount of clean energy available to the area. Signing up is easy and can be done here.

The New Year is a prime opportunity to start thinking differently about energy consumption and cutting down on rising energy costs. Remember, every effort towards energy efficiency matters, and all of these changes can make an impact in both the short and long term. So, think about your habits and take proactive steps to save energy and money while creating a more sustainable future.  

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