We Promote Energy Conservation and Preserving Our Environment

dps.mn.gov160Winter Energy Tips

When the big chill moves in, have your heating system serviced by a local certified HVAC contractor. Maintenance of your system drastically improves performance. Here are some other cold weather energy tips.

  • Clean or replace your heating system filter every 30 to 90 days depending on your system requirements.
  • Seal all air leaks around windows and doors with caulk and weather-stripping.
  • Cover your exterior pipes and faucets with covers and wraps during freezing temperatures. Be ready.
  • If you own a window AC unit, pull it out for the winter. Window AC units are like having a small hole in your wall during winter months.
  • If you own a fireplace, be certain to keep the flue closed when not in use and consider adding a chimney plug to reduce air leaks.
  • Turn down your thermostat when away or asleep. A 10 degree lower setting for 8 hours saves 10% on heating bills.
  • Open drapes and curtains on sunny days to let the UV rays help heat your living spaces.

For lower heating and cooling costs year-round, consider having your HVAC system ductwork inspected and sealed by a qualified HVAC technician. Also consider adding insulation to your home. Over 60% of homes in the USA are currently under-insulated according to new energy codes. You could save 20% or more on energy bills.

energy audit eere

Top Home Energy Performance Raters 

A home energy audit places your entire homes’ building structure and equipment under a series of tests and analysis to determine which improvements can be made to the home or the equipment to make the home more energy efficient with lower utility costs. Professional home energy audits (assessments) are conducted by certified training organizations.

RESNET: http://www.resnet.us/ Residential Energy Services Networks' website offers complete information on the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) as well as energy tips and advice.

BPI: http://www.bpi.org/ Building Performance Institutes' website offers full details of their rating system, training programs, and green jobs listings.

ENERGYSTAR HOMES: EnergyStar Homes The ENERGYSTAR website offers complete details on the Energy Star Home program along with tons of energy efficiency advice, documents, and advice on financing.

LEED for Homes: http://www.usgbc.org/leed/homes The U.S. Green Building Councils' website provides details of the USGBC Homes rating system along with a reference guide, checklist, and project tools.  

smartgrid gtm216Smart Grid is Looming Closer

In the near future, the smart grid will will enable you to control the energy use in your home or office over the internet. You will be able to adjust your thermostat, turn on an appliance, adjust your lighting from anywhere via a smart phone or laptop. The "Smart Grid" will connect two-way technology, information, and controls over our electrical grid. Progress is coming along slowly.

Here's how it will work: You will be charged extra for energy used to run your air conditioner, clothes dryer, oven, and other appliances during peak hours (8 am to 7 pm). During peak hours the electric grid is under high demand from heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses.  You will be rewarded for running your clothes dryer and other electrical devices during off-peak hours. It will be in everyone's best interest to use appliances and electronics as much as possible during off-peak hours (evening-night-morning). 

Currently: Smart meter deployment is the first step and it is being rolled out, slowly. Smart meters communicate electric usage information back to local utility companies for tracking and billing purposes. Also, our appliances will have to be upgraded to be energy smart. Here again, energy smart appliances are being rolled out by several major manufacturers. Finally, we will all need an energy smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are being used and tested throughout the USA which track usage and enable internet controls.

WaterSenseLogo129Easy Ways to Save Water

The average family of four in the USA uses as much as 400 gallons of water per day. Here are the top ways to save water at no cost:

  • Take shorter showers. 2 minutes per day can save over 150 gallons per month.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth saves over 20 gallons per month.
  • Turn off the water when you shave will save over 100 gallons per month.
  • Never use your hose to clean the driveway or sidewalks. Use a broom instead.
  • Turn off the water while you wash your hair can save over 100 gallons per month.
  • Only run full loads through with your washing machine. Full loads instead of partial loads saves 3400 gallons of water per year.
  • Only run full loads through with your dishwasher.
  • Never leave the hose running while washing your car. Use a sprayer or turn it off until you rinse.
  • Water your yard wisely: Avoid watering on windy days. Only water your grass in the early morning or early evening hours, never during the hot afternoon hours.

energy guideMake Your Home More Energy Efficient!

This Step-by-Step Home Energy Guide
walks you through all the No-Cost and
Low-Cost ways to save on Heating, Cooling,
Electricity, and Water. Complete A to Z advice.
Plus - Solar Options & Energy Upgrade Financing.
60% Energy Savings Case Study included.

144 Pages - 176 Photos - Graphs - Diagrams

Complete details @ Home Energy Guide

Energy Tip of the Week:

Over 60% of homes in the USA are under-insulated.

How many inches do you have in your attic?

If it's less than 12 to 15 inches, you are wasting energy dollars. Insulation pays for itself in a short period of time and then you start doubling back on your wise investment.