You've probably heard the phrase "knowledge is power," but knowledge can also lead to savings. Knowing more about energy efficiency can help save money, especially in home repairs, appliance upgrades and even in fuel economy.
We hope that the information and links on this page will help you, as a consumer, to save money and reduce energy consumption at the same time.
When it comes to money savings and protecting the environment, one of the most widely-recognized names and logos would probably be ENERGY STAR. It is seen on appliances, computers, monitors, heating and air units and much more. The program, jointly started in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, provides consumers with energy information on products and the savings they can expect.
As an Energy Star partner, ADECA's Energy Division works to educate consumers in our state about the benefits of choosing Energy Star products, and to promote the use of those products and practices.
The main ENERGY STAR website has information about products, home improvements, new home building, commercial buildings and industrial plants. In the "Saving Energy at Home" section below, there are more ENERGY STAR links to help you find ways to save.
The Energy Education Program works with educators and students to provide resources and opportunities for science and energy education in Alabama. The emphasis of the program is to provide K-12 students with energy conservation measures that can be used in and out of the classroom. These measures will provide useful information that the students may pass along to their families and ultimately lead to a more energy-efficient society.
"Energy Patrol" enlists students to identify energy waste in their schools by patrolling the hallways looking for empty classrooms with the lights on and other energy-wasting practices. Depending on individual school rules and energy management systems, students can also close exterior doors, report inappropriate thermostat settings, leaky faucets and more.
For more information on "Energy Patrol," please contact us at (334) 242-5290 or email us.
The U.S. Department of Energy also provides resources to help educate our nation's next generation of scientists. Click here for their online K-12 instructional resources. The department also provides other lesson plans and activities on their Energy Education and Workforce Development website.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency partnered with Scholastic to provide an educational children's book called "The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up."
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers education programs as well, and the Alliance to Save Energy provides a "Green Schools Program."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has an "Energy Kids" website with information, games and activities for children.
Other sites of interest include the National Energy Education Development Project, also known as the NEED Project, and the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.
If you're looking for tips on saving energy in your home, then the following links are for you:
Find resources to make your home more energy efficient with the Home Energy Saver web-based do-it-yourself energy audit tool.
The ENERGY STAR website has an interactive room-by-room tool that shows what you can do in your own home to save energy, save money and help protect our environment.
If you have a few minutes and your last 12 months of utility bills, you can use the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements.
Supply your zip code and basic fuel use information about your home and the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor will provide recommended home improvement projects to increase energy efficiency and comfort in the area where you live.
For year-round tips on saving money and energy at home check out Energy Savers, a guide provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Visit their home page for even more energy saving ideas.
Thinking of going solar?
Click here to download the U.S. Department of Energy's "A Homebuilder's Guide to Going Solar."
Saving energy isn’t the only way you can cut utility costs each month. Check out these tips from ADECA’s Energy Division that can help you conserve energy by using less hot water and cut your water consumption.
- Lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10ºF can save you three to five percent in energy costs. Most households only require a water heater thermostat setting of 120ºF, or even 115ºF.
- Use a high-efficiency water heater. Approximately 15 percent of home energy use can go to heat water. A high-efficiency unit may use 10 to 50 percent less energy than some conventional models.
- Insulate hot water pipes, water heaters, and supply pipes.
- ENERGY STAR clothes washers use about half the energy that older models consume. You can save up to $120 a year on combined water and energy bills. ENERGY STAR clothes washers, available in both top and front-loading models, use much less water - 18 to 25 gallons per load, compared to 40. Visit http://www.energystar.gov/certified-products.
- Switch to cold water. Washing laundry in cold water can save up to $63 a year; there are detergents formulated for cold water.
- ENERGY STAR dishwashers use 25 percent less hot water and energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption.
- Load 'em up! Do full loads of laundry and dishes. Most of the energy used by dishwashers is to heat a set amount of water. Running smaller loads wastes both energy and water. Air dry dishes for additional savings.
- Go with the flow. To reduce water usage, use a low-flow shower head, which can save up to five gallons a minute and use less hot water. Take showers versus baths. Take shorter showers versus longer showers.
- Don't be a drip. Fix drippy, leaky faucets and toilets. Small leaks can add up and create waste. Replace old faucet aerators. Newer models use less water and provide more water pressure. Consider water-saving faucet attachments. Also check for leaks in pipes, hoses, and couplings.
- Drop the hose. Use a broom or sweeper instead of a hose to clean the garage, driveway, or sidewalk.
- Recycling isn't just for throwing away trash. Don't let water go down the drain when there may be another use for it. Collect rainwater and reuse it to water plants. Connect gutter downspouts to rain-barrels or direct them to trees or plants.
- Reap what you sow. Water early or late in the day when temperatures are lower, and choose lower maintenance plants.
- Check your sprinklers. Adjust sprinklers to properly water lawns and plants so they don't hit the pavement or your driveway.
- Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle. Use a bucket of water and a sponge to wash your car instead of letting the water run.
ADECA encourages you to save money, be green and enjoy your commute. Ridesharing can match you with other interested people who live and work close to you. Share the ride with like-minded people and start saving money today!
Ridesharing is easy! Here are some tips:
1. Contact the people on your list. Don't be shy; they have also expressed interest in carpooling.
2. Determine who will drive, and when and how many days a week you will carpool.
3. Discuss financial arrangements. If you rotate driving responsibilities, no money should change hands, but if one person does the bulk of the driving, you should decide on a per-day or per-mile contribution to cover gas and parking.
4. Decide where, when and in what order each rider will be picked up and dropped off. Use a meeting place.
5. Establish "Rules of the Road" to determine if smoking, eating, drinking, playing the radio and use of perfume/cologne are acceptable in your carpool.
6. Figure out an emergency plan in case of bad weather or schedule change. Agree on a fair waiting time for riders in case the driver is stuck in traffic or otherwise delayed.
7. Give it a trial run. Once you've done it for a couple of weeks, you'll find out how much you like it!
"Vanpooling" is another option to save consumers money, time and stress. With the rising cost of gasoline, consumers can save a significant amount of money by sharing the ride.
More information and resources related to carpooling can be found at the following websites:
Alabama Partners for Clean Air
Also available in Alabama are rural transit agencies that provide transportation services for rural residents, such as transporting senior citizens to medical appointments and transporting workers to jobs in areas where there is no mass transportation. For more information on rural transit in Alabama contact the Alabama Department of Transportation's Bureau of Multimodal Transportation at (334) 353-6401 or visit their Transit Section page.
As gas prices remain high, Alabama consumers want to find ways to conserve fuel and save money. Check out the links below for tips on saving fuel and finding the lowest gas prices in your area.
For information on saving money at the pump, visit www.FuelEconomy.gov. Also on that website, the U.S. Department of Energy has compiled other listing where you can find the best gas prices.
If you're looking for U.S. retail gasoline prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has that listed on their website.
"Worthwhile Investments Save Energy." The WISE Home Energy Program is the one-stop-shop to help homeowners stop burning money on home energy costs and have a more comfortable and healthy home, regardless of income. This program is currently available to residents in Cullman, Jefferson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Morgan and Shelby counties.
This program provides homeowners an opportunity to receive an energy assessment to identify which home upgrades would be most effective in reducing energy costs. It provides up to $750 in rebates to homeowners who install efficiency measures that result in an energy savings of at least 20 percent.
For more information on the program, visit AlabamaWise.org.
Below are links to information regarding energy-related tax incentives:
The Energy Star website has a "Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency" section.
The U.S. Energy Department's FuelEconomy.gov website has a Tax Incentive Information Center for fuel efficient vehicles.
The Alliance to Save Energy website has a "Energy Efficiency Home and Vehicle Tax Credits" page with information.
For guidance on "Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," click here.