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March 16, 2015
Conserving energy is always an important task for residents of Colorado. The end of winter is near and spring will soon be here, which means warmer temperatures and additional sunlight. This is the perfect time of year for Coloradans to start taking some proactive steps to conserve energy.
1. Natural ventilation
Natural ventilation is the easiest and inexpensive way to conserve energy in the spring. Opening up windows to allow fresh air in can refresh a stuffy room and keep it temperate. Opening windows throughout the house literally costs no money and since it can keep homeowners from funding a heating or air conditioning system, there are energy savings as well.
Ceiling fans are perhaps the most energy efficient way of circulating air around a room. Operating a ceiling fan can allow a homeowner to raise the temperature on the thermostat as many as four degrees without any reduction in comfort level. In some climates, ceiling fans can remove the need for air conditioning use at all. In order to conserve as much energy as possible, residents should turn ceiling fans off when they are not in the room. For those for whom ceiling fans are not an option, window fans are also a great choice. Window fans take very little energy to operate and do a great job cooling a room. In order to get the best results from a window fan, it should be placed in a window that is close to a cool, shaded area.
3. Programmable thermostat
Using programmable thermostats is another easy way to conserve energy in the springtime. Programmable thermostats can be pre-set to turn off and on at pre-determined times. This stops the repeated stopping and starting of heating and cooling systems throughout the day. Having the temperature set back several degrees during the day when dwellers aren’t home results in significant savings through the course of the season. As the weather warms, the thermostat can be set to a higher temperature while people aren’t home in order to achieve the same effect.
Strategically placed landscaping elements combine energy savings with pleasing aesthetics. Planting trees and shrubs around the house can provide shade that is necessary to keep the temperature of the house at a comfortable level without having to use the air conditioner, resulting in lower energy bills. Another way to use landscaping to reduce energy costs is to plant trees or shrubs near an air conditioning unit. When outdoor units are shaded they use less energy than they do if they are placed in the sun. It is important to note, though that greenery needs to be located in a way to assure airflow is not blocked to guarantee a safe and effective energy savings.
5. Spring cleaning
Doing a little spring cleaning can unearth several small ways to save energy around the house. For example, cleaning underneath and behind a refrigerator can eliminate dust and dirt that will ultimately improve the efficiency of the appliance. When the refrigerator runs more efficiently, it saves the homeowner lots of money. One little-known cleaning trick is dusting light bulbs. When the bulbs are free of dust, they increase the output of light so fewer lights need to be on at the same time, thus saving electricity. At this time of year, homeowners should also check to make sure the windows are all sealed properly to assure energy isn’t being wasted through cracks.
6. Air-dry laundry
The spring is the perfect time to air-dry the laundry. The warm air and bright sunlight are the perfect combination for perfectly drying clothes. It costs next to nothing to hang a clothesline in the back yard and clothespins are easily found at any store. Those are really the only two materials that are needed for air-drying. When laundry can be dried outside instead of in the dryer it eliminates the need for any energy to get the job done. Air-drying is gentler on clothes than a traditional gas or electric dryer so clothes that are air-dried will last longer.
As the temperature begins to get warmer in the spring, it is the perfect time to conserve energy by getting some exercise. Whenever possible, dust the cobwebs off of the bicycle and ride to the store. Any time you can walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation instead of driving a car, a little bit of energy is saved. By the end of the season, all those little bits add up to a significant energy savings.
Conserving energy is every Coloradan’s responsibility. Since spring is a time of renewal and rebirth, it is the perfect time for everyone to take steps to reduce their energy consumption. Even small steps that may seem insignificant on the surface can be beneficial when they are added together. It all starts with just one step.
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