8 Ways to Reduce Your Winter Energy Usage
North American winters are typically the time when many folks spend money making their homes comfortably warm. Utility bills and expenses often spike during the winter but there are several things that can be done to mitigate those expenses. Some ways to reduce your utility bill cost money but over several years, those investments will pay off. However, there are many ways to reduce your utility bills that don’t cost any additional money.
Free and Easy Fixes
- Use the sleep or hibernation feature on a desktop or laptop computer will also conserve energy. Having a computer on regular mode when it’s not being used wastes energy. Save money by letting your computer rest when it’s not in use by customizing these features.
- Print on paper only when necessary. When you do use a printer, consider having two sources of paper: new and recycled. If you’re printing something informal, use the blank side of the recycled sheet and only use the new paper if you’re printing something more formal.
- Unplug equipment when it’s not in use, such as during holidays, weekends, and evenings. This includes printers, scanners, vending machines, lights, air conditioners, heaters, or other equipment. Most of these types of equipment continue to draw power while they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off.
- Use the sun’s energy to heat a building. By letting sunlight into a room during the day and covering the windows with thick curtains at sunset, you can trap the sun’s heat inside your home.
Invest in your Long Term Energy Usage
- Replace existing light bulbs with compact florescent lights (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED). According to the US Department of Energy, CFL’s last 3 – 25 times longer and use between 25% – 80% less energy than regular light bulbs. LED’s boast similar savings and also emit very little heat. Although they cost more money upfront, you’ll reap the savings on your utility bill, especially during peak usage times when energy rates tend to be higher.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat or one that connects to your wireless internet so you can control the temperature remotely. That way, if you accidentally leave the thermostat on, you can access it remotely to turn it off.
- Install more insulation in your manufacturing facility. Having a well-insulated home allows you to have more control over your home’s temperature during winter and summer months. Over time, this investment will save money by lowering the energy required to heat or cool your home.
- Consider solar panels. Although it’s an expensive upfront investment, over time, solar panels could save you a great deal of money. Depending on your location, many solar panel companies offer rebates. USDA programs like REAP offer grant assistance for small businesses in rural areas to switch to solar, though some restrictions apply.