EnergyWise Tip: Energy Efficiency for Earth Day

Though the official date recognized for Earth Day this year is Saturday, April 22, public power utilities in Nebraska celebrate Earth Day every day of the year.

Nebraska is the only state in the nation where every electric utility is a public power partner; therefore, you can be 100 percent certain your local utility has your (the customer’s) best interests in mind. Public power means all Nebraska homes and businesses run on electricity provided by a not-for-profit business serving local customers. In doing so, people served by communities, cooperatives and power districts have more control over their local utility, so all benefits produced by public power — including affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, better service and a focus on local goals — stay locally.

This commitment extends past the electric meter and into homes and businesses by providing assistance in making the most efficient use of the primary product public power provides — electricity!

To throw your own Earth Day celebration, consider implementing a few of the 10 ideas below, and you will be rewarded with savings!

  • Install and use ceiling fans. During air-conditioning season, you should be able to adjust your thermostat up four degrees and experience the same comfort as you would have with only running the air conditioner.
  • Keep the thermostat away from heat sources, including the sun, candles, lamps and appliances. Temperature misreading by the thermostat can cause your air conditioner to work longer than necessary.
  • Set the thermostat as high as possible to where you are still comfortable. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill.
  • Keep drapes and blinds closed during the day in the summer to reduce the amount of solar heat gain. Consider installing solar screens, insulating drapes, and planting trees outside of sun-facing windows for more protection against the sun’s rays.
  • Open drapes and blinds during sunny winter days to take advantage of solar heat gain. Once the sun no longer shines in, close drapes and blinds to help retain heat in your home.
  • Check the air conditioner filter and change it, if necessary. Filters should be changed every 30-90 days. We recommend using HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, setting calendar reminders and writing the date on the filter when you replace it.
  • Schedule annual air conditioning maintenance tune-up to help reduce repairs and keep your system operating at peak efficiency. What you spend on the tune-up you’ll make back on your energy bill. If your unit is older than 15 years and often breaks down, consider replacement.
  • Do not run your heating or air conditioning while you are away from home. Either schedule the times you are gone with a programmable thermostat or remember to turn it off before you leave the house. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the desired temperature 30 minutes before you arrive so the desired temperature is reached by the time you get back.
  • Insulate everywhere heat is lost. This includes hot water pipes, air ducts, attic, basement, windows and doors.
  • Block drafts from doors and windows by using caulk, door sweeps and thresholds.

Nebraska Public Power District want to help you make the best choices to shine a light on the subject! This includes helping you make the most of the energy you use throughout the year.