October is National Energy Action Month, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Green Management Program is doing its part to educate employees on how to conserve resources, educating them on more energy-efficient practices that can be used in many aspects of their daily lives.
You too can significantly reduce your energy use now and in the months to come, using these tips.
At Home: Perform a do-it-yourself energy audit with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star Home Advisor. This web-based tool provides customized advice on how to increase energy efficiency and comfort through home improvement projects. You can save 5-30 percent on your energy bill by making upgrades following a home energy assessment. Access a free energy audit at this link.
There are many easy ways to start saving at home. Unplug appliances you’re not using. Many electronic devices continue to draw power even when they are turned off, known as “phantom load.” Unplugging your DVD player, desktop computer and audio system can achieve an annual savings of more than $40.
Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. The recommended temperatures are 37°-40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer section.
Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFLs) or light–emitting diodes (LEDs). They use about 75-90 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. Replacing just four incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs can save about $35 annually.
Limit your showers to no more than 10 minutes to lower water usage and reduce electricity costs. Also, use a low-flow showerhead during time-conscious showers for a savings of up to $145 each year on electricity.
At Work: Don’t use screensavers on your computer. It is a common misperception that screensavers reduce a monitor’s energy use. Use automatic switching to sleep mode or simply turn it off when not in use.
Turn off lights in individual cubicles and offices when appropriate, such as at the end of day or during periods of absence. Lighting accounts for 20 percent of a building’s energy costs.
Use reusable coffee mugs instead of disposable cups. Not only will you save roughly $50 per year, but you’ll produce less waste and reduce the energy required during the manufacturing and transport of disposable cups.
During the Commute: Inflate your tires to the pressure listed in your owner’s manual or on a sticker in the glove box or driver’s side door jamb. Keeping your tires properly inflated can result in annual savings of more than $1,600.
Avoid high speeds and rapid acceleration. Above 60 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. For every 5 mph above 60 mph, it’s like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon of gasoline.
To learn about the Green Management Program and get more energy-saving tips, visit the VA Green Routine webpage.