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A smiley face isn’t just a friendly way to sign off a text message – it can also be a powerful tool to make people save more energy.
So suggests a new study into emoticons which tested 462 homes from fourteen associations around England (all with smart meters installed). The Sustainable Homes group compared the energy use of homes without any feedback on their energy use with a “smiley” group. These 110 homes were rated with a “very happy” face if they were in the top 25% lowest energy users for homes of a similar size. The findings showed an average of 8% could be saved on the electricity bill and 3.6% saved on gas with emoticon-style feedback.
The study builds on previous work from Opower and comes ahead of the UK’s nationwide rollout of smart meters which will collect data about homes energy use. When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. Consumer electronics play an increasingly larger role in your home’s energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use.
Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone charger!). With a new 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head, a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, saving you five gallons of water over a typical bath. To avoid moisture problems, control humidity in your bathroom by running your ventilating fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths. During cold weather, take advantage of the sun’s warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. This Message is powered by CONCISE TECHNOLOGIES LTD, A Market Street, Kampala Down Town Based Company at the Energy Center Complex., STORE NO. With the holidays coming up, and the temperature dropping, we begin to use more energy, and our bills begin to go up.
Tighten up your drafty house- Homeowners lose the majority of their heat through leaks and drafts in and outside of their houses. Furnace Care- Having a dirty filter slows down the flow of your air, which takes more effort out of your heater to keep your home warm. Let the Sunshine In- Even though the winter brings cooler temperatures, that doesn’t mean that the sun has completely gone away. Modernize your Thermostat- Gone are the days of just having your heater run and run and run, even when you’re not at home. Illuminate Your Holidays with LED- With the holidays approaching, so comes the time where we outline our homes with holiday lighting.
These tips will show you how to be more energy efficient and save energy, money, and reduce the risks of climate change. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR qualified lights can save more than $65 a year in energy costs.
Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year!

Proper use means setting the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures without overriding that setting.
For home office equipment, this stand-by or “phantom” power load can range from a few watts to as much as 20 or even 40 watts for each piece of equipment. A new showerhead also will save energy — up to $145 each year on electricity — beating out both the bath and an old-fashioned showerhead.
Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents.
If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done, use it to avoid over drying. Try to dry loads made up of similar fabrics, so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends. Dryers work by moving heated air through wet clothes, evaporating and then venting water vapor outside.
Take a little time to seal leaks in your recessed lighting and chimneys, as well as putting caulk in your drafty windows, you can save huge amounts of energy as well as saving at least 20% of your heating and energy costs. If there are things you can’t change on your own, share these tips and encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better.
ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide high-quality light output, use 75% less energy, and last 6–10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs. Electronics equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR helps save energy when off, while maintaining features like clock displays, channel settings, and remote-control functions. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load. Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually (with an electric water heater) and more than $30 annually (with a gas water heater). Many dryers come with energy-saving moisture or humidity sensors that shut off the heat when the clothes are dry. If the dryer cannot provide enough heat, or move air sufficiently through the clothes, they will take longer to dry, and may not dry at all. Although used only a few months of the year, the annual cost can be much greater than the annual cost of your refrigerator, which is typically the next largest user. The simple solution to this is cleaning out, or changing your furnace filters on a regular basis. But nowadays there are LED lights that not only look amazing, and vibrant, but they use 90% less energy than the older lights once used.
If you don’t have this feature, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load. One of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency is to clean the lint trap before each and every load.

Another way to stay ahead of using more energy is get your heating system tuned up before winter hits.
You can schedule the heating of your home to stay a certain temperature when you’re home, and then drop in temperature while you’re gone. You can get a very rough idea of what your air conditioner is costing you by subtracting the electric portion of your bill in a spring month when you aren’t using your air conditioner from the electric portion of the bill in the summer when you do use it.
This will give your home some natural heat, and allow you to save anywhere from 5 to 15% on your energy bill. Not only will this save energy and money on your bill, but it you can also save on rebuying lights. Multiply this by the number of months you use your air conditioner to arrive at your approximate annual cost.Refrigerators are typically the largest users in houses without air conditioning or in climates where the air conditioners are used only a few days of the month during the cooling season. It’s similar to tuning up your car; the more you take care of your heating system, the longer it will last, and the better it’ll take care of you. New efficiency standards went into effect in 1992, and older refrigerators are typically two to three times more expensive to run than a new unit. The ages of major appliances, especially refrigerators and air conditioners, can make a dramatic difference in your bill.
In addition, if your house leaks air like a sieve while your neighbor’s house was just weatherized and insulated, you will have much higher heating and cooling bills. Other factors that can result in significant differences in bills are the number and kinds of lighting fixtures, thermostat settings for heating and cooling, the number of loads of laundry, old refrigerators out in the garage, and hobbies which result in electricity use.We have an older house. Which should we do first: insulate or replace the furnace?Whether you should insulate or replace your furnace first depends on the situation in your house. Factors that influence this decision are the age and efficiency of your furnace, and the amount of insulation currently present in the house.In general it is more cost-effective to upgrade insulation than it is to upgrade your furnace. However, if your furnace is old, and you are planning on replacing it anyway, you might want to upgrade the furnace if you have to choose between the two options. The efficiency of furnaces has increased over the years, so the older a furnace is, the more likely that furnace is to be inefficient.
Older furnaces and furnaces which are used a lot are more cost-effective to replace than newer or infrequently used furnaces.
Also, if you insulate your house at the time of furnace replacement, you might be able to buy a smaller capacity furnace and save money on the price. Programmable thermostats, while not always digital, save money by turning the air conditioner to a higher setting (or heater to a lower setting) when no one is present in the house or in the evenings when it is cooler.
You can achieve the same savings without the programmable thermostat, but you would have to remember to change your thermostat every day when you leave the house, and turn it down every night when you go to bed. In addition, if you are using the thermostat to regulate your heater, you would wake to a cold house.

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