Tips to Keep Energy Costs Down

By ecoRI News staff

Extreme weather events, such as this summer’s heat wave and winter storms, can drastically effect people’s comfort at home, and cause their energy costs to skyrocket.

Mark Newey, building scientist at the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), says people should consider making simple home improvements that will keep them comfortable, and reduce their energy costs, year-round.

Here are Newey’s tips to reduce energy costs:

Insulate your attic. The biggest difference you can make to lower energy expenses is to keep the hot air from pouring out of your attic into your house. An insulation professional can seal the access points into your attic and insulate the attic itself. In the winter, this work will keep warm air from escaping into the attic. CET can help homeowners get started by providing a home energy assessment, which may help homeowners become eligible for assistance through Mass Save’s energy-efficiency program.

Shade your windows from the outside. It’s most effective to keep the sun’s heat out of your house by installing awnings outside your windows. You might also consider planting tall shrubs outside your windows, or installing a trellis and growing climbing plants.

Shade your windows from the inside, using light-colored curtains or blinds.

Humidity makes the heat feel worse. Run your bathroom exhaust fan when you use the shower, and consider running a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air in your home.

If you’re using air conditioning to cool your home, consider using window units to cool specific spaces, and closing off those rooms that you don’t need to cool. By reducing the space you want to cool, you’ll save energy and money.

Use ceiling and portable fans to blow air on you. Remember, fans don’t cool a room; they cool you, so turn them off when you’re not in the room.

If you don’t have air conditioning, cool your house at night by opening windows and using fans to cool off. Close windows early in the morning and keep them closed all day.

Electrical appliances generate heat. Keep your lights, computer and TV turned off and try to cook outside.