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Tips to save energy and fight climate change (5/12)

May 12, 2009
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With summer and the high costs of cooling right around the corner, EPA is offering advice to help Americans reduce both energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by one third through Energy Star. The energy used in an average home costs more than $2,200 a year and contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than a typical car.

“A few simple changes will help create real reductions in high summer electric bills and provide a hefty cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the bargain,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “It’s important that we all do our part to confront climate change, especially when it can help save money during these challenging economic times.”

Here are some tips to save energy and help protect the environment at home and at work:

Set your programmable thermostat to save while you are away or asleep. Using it properly can save up to $180 per year in energy costs.

Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to create a wind-chill effect that will make you “feel” cooler. Remember that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms -- so turn them off when you leave the room.

Inspect your duct system for obvious signs of leaks and disconnections (most houses leak 20 percent or more). Seal any leaks with foil tape or a special sealant called “duct mastic.” Also consider insulating ducts in unconditioned areas (like the attic, basement or crawlspace).

Seal air leaks around your home to keep the heat out and the cool air in. The biggest air leaks are usually found in the attic or basement, but also come in around doors, windows, vents, pipes and electrical outlets. Use caulk, spray foam or weather stripping to seal the leaks. And add more insulation to keep your home cooler this summer.

Maintain your cooling system. Check your system’s air filter every month at a minimum and change the filter every 3 months. Remove leaves, dirt and other debris from around the outdoor components to improve air flow and efficiency. Have a qualified professional tune-up your system with a pre-season maintenance checkup and, if it’s time to replace your old system, look for models that have earned EPA’s Energy Star.

Turn off office lights and equipment when not in use so they don’t generate unnecessary heat.

Replace incandescent light bulbs in your desk lamp with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs which use two-thirds less energy and generate less heat than conventional bulbs.

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