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Energy Efficiency Day 2018: Simple tips to help energy provider save their customers money (and the environment)

While great strides have been made by many energy providers to minimize environmental costs, there is still a long way to go, especially with President Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Fortunately, there are still a handful of simple things that anyone can do to cut down the power bill. As part of an initiative by Energy Efficiency Day 2018 (#EEDay2018), energy providers (and their customers) are encouraged to do their part to save power (and money) by making more efficient use of power.

In this article, I will be looking at a handful of dead-simple ideas for cutting down power where it matters. To make sure I didn’t miss any good ideas, I spoke on the phone with Amy Calo, an energy-services technician in Clayton, Delaware, who confirms that heating and cooling is typically the number-one cost to consumers.

Calo recommends that, for optimal energy use, the thermostat be set at 78 °F. Another problem, especially during winter, is window glazing. Double-glazed windows will significantly increase the retention of warmth (and therefore a reduction in the electric bill). But it’s not just heaters that will have your bank account getting zapped—air conditioners also can be a real drain on energy companies, especially during the peak of summer. But more on that in a moment.

While there is a lot of money to be saved in heating and cooling, the same cannot be said for smartphones. Incredibly, it costs less than a dollar to charge a smartphone for an entire year (with Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from zdnet.com calculating a cost of just 84 cents per year). Conversely, an air conditioner in a medium-size room can cost anywhere from 36 cents to 70 cents per hour. A larger room can cost as much as 95 cents per hour. That means that a single air conditioner in a large room can use up more energy than a year of heavy smartphone use (as Kingsley-Hughes claimed to be a heavy smartphone user, and he shrewdly factored this into his calculations, using a daily average of 19.2 Wh).

Calo recommends using energyusecalculator.com to give a good estimation of what you can expect to pay for certain household items (in terms of energy expenditure). Of particular note are space heaters, which are notorious for using up a lot of energy. While 15 cents per hour (a typical amount) might not seem like much on the surface, it can add up over time if you like to keep yourself toasty all day.

For example, if you use a space heater eight hours a day, that equates to $438 per year. Of course, most people might only use them for an hour or two during the morning or evening (and mostly during winter), but it is much more important to consider high-power items than, say, an energy-efficient lightbulb, which, used for the same amount of time, would only amount to $4 per year. However, this only applies if you use energy-efficient light bulbs; there is still a minority of people who insist on hoarding incandescent bulbs. While incandescent bulbs might be a tad brighter, white LEDs are much more efficient and can last up to a hundred times longer as well.

In other words, if your customers are looking to save up some Christmas money or pay off some debt, a good way of putting more cash in their coffers is by not spending it on excessive power consumption. Just remember, though, that you make sure your customers prioritize what devices your customers cut back on. Nobody went broke by using the toaster too much.

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