VEC Key Accounts Manager Dave Lahar, at left, is one of VEC's experts in energy efficiency. Below he offers tips for members who would like to address high electricity usage.
The more information, the better. Being able to monitor your usage is a good first step toward reducing it. If you haven’t already, consider signing up with VEC’s online portal, Smarthub. With SmartHub you can set daily and/or hourly usage alerts so you can get a feel for when your usage is high. The more information you have, the easier it will be to understand what energy-saving steps might be most helpful.
Check your heating. Operating your heating system - even if your fuel is not electricity - can increase electricity usage. So, adding weather-stripping and tightening up your home can save electricity, as well your heating fuel, if the two are different. Consider a “set-back” or smart thermostat to help save at night or when you're away from home. Also, avoid using space heaters. There are usually more efficient ways to heat indoor space.
Pay attention to hot water. Heating water, however it’s done, is an energy-intensive task. Make sure there are no leaks in hot water lines or faucets. Reduce the amount of hot water you consume by moving to cold water clothes washing, taking showers instead of baths, or filling a sink if you hand wash dishes rather than letting the water run while you wash. Consider insulation of your hot water pipes, and make sure there are no gaps where cold air can get in and around your hot water tank. If you have an electric hot water tank, consider adding a tank wrap.
Take advantage of energy efficient technologies. Consider LED lightbulbs, particularly for those areas that are used most. Look for promotions at point-of-purchase, and check out promotions at Efficiency Vermont. If your TVs, monitors, printers or other home equipment is equipped with energy-saving features, take advantage of them. Use plug strips for entertainment and home office equipment that can be turned off when the equipment is not in use. If you are buying a new appliance or equipment, shop for the most efficient products. Look for Energy Star rated products and visit Efficiency Vermont's Marketplace to find and compare energy efficient products all in one place.
Remember: information is a great first step so if you have not signed up for SmartHub, consider doing so today!