Heating: You can save 5% of your annual heating costs for every 5 degrees you set your thermostat back (make sure to always keep heat above 55 degrees to avoid frozen water pipes!). Turn heat down during the day when you are out of the house.
Weatherization: A lot of heat escapes through leaks. Ask your landlord if you can weatherstrip doors and windows. Installing plastic sheets on widows can improve insulation noticeably. Do-it-Yourself Kits that cover up to 6 windows are available for $12-16 in most hardware stores.
Lighting: Turn off all unnecessary lights. By replacing five of the most frequently used light bulbs in your home with compact florescent bulbs; you could save $60 in energy costs per year! Did you know that landlords in Burlington can receive 16 bulbs FREE from Burlington Electric Department? Let your landlord in on this tip...
Cooking: Use a microwave or toaster oven when preparing small portions. Keep all pots covered and refrain from opening conventional oven while in use (25 degrees of heat escapes each time an oven is opened!).
Appliances/Electronics: Many things consume electricity even while they are “off” - TV's, computers, etc. Save energy and money by unplugging these devices while they are not in use (putting them on shared power strips/surge protectors makes this a lot easier to do!).
Water Use: Heating water accounts for approximately 15% of an average household energy bill. To save hot water, take quick showers and replace shower heads with low flow units. Use washing machines and dishwashers with full loads only. Use cold water when using a washing machine; it is equally effective at getting clothes clean.
For more info on energy efficiency and weatherization contact Efficiency VT, VT Gas, or Burlington Electric.
Want even more? Attend a Button Up Workshop -- hosted in various locations around the state this fall.
Thanks to the UVM Office of Student & Community Relations Office for content for this posting.