The energy diet: Nice and easy

RBC I Recently, Yampa Valley Data Partners and the Northwest Colorado Energy Steering Committee have published an Energy Diet Challenge Checklist that will help you take the first of many steps required to assess and take action in an Energy Diet for your home or business.
Developing electric and natural gas or propane usage history requires you to retrieve your monthly electric and gas bills from 2011 and year to date for 2012. It is the quantity of usage of electric and gas, not the cost, that is recorded on the backside of your energy diet challenge checklist. Once you complete the record to the most recent month, enter your future month’s usage. This record is the starting point for measuring the cost effectiveness of your energy diet actions.
The next step is to tackle some nice and easy actions to start your saving today. Turn off lights when not in use.
“Who left this light on?” has often been said in many homes and offices. If only turning off lights worked with our children, spouses, neighbors, co-workers and, mostly ourselves. The simple reaching for the wall switch, the turning off of an on-off cord or TV/Radio power when no one is present is a logical, reasonable personal action. Turning on the bathroom light, brushing your teeth, washing your face, turning off the bathroom light as you leave, are all part of your daily routine. Actions that turn into habits can be achieved by repeating the action for 30 days. The Energy Diet challenge is to make the action of turning off all lights and power when not attended as much a habit as turning off your bathroom light in your morning routine.
The “turning off” can also be applied to other devices. A 42” LCD HDTV has an energy star wattage consumption of 100 watts per hour, but the energy is wasted if no one is watching the TV. 100 watts per hour does not seem to be much usage, yet most busy family homes have two to three TVs on at any one time. The usage is then 300 watt hours for 12 hours a day is 3600 watt hours. Assuming a kilowatt hour cost is approx. $0.09, three TV usage costs are estimated at $0.34/day, $2.38/week, $10.20/month. This cost can only be lowered when these devices are turned off when not attended. A quick walk around your home will help you look for the large usage devices that can be turned off. By simply turning the power switch off on all unattended electronics you will find the potential savings will surprise you.
There are many tools that are built into Energy Star electronics that help control usage. We recommend reading your owner’s manual to make the most of these power usage control tools. Or, ask the sales person in the store where the device was purchased. Next week: More actions you can take right away to reduce your energy costs.
The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse or chamber or at YampaValleyDataPartners.com.