When southeast Michigan was in the middle of the polar vortex this past winter, Consumers Energy asked everyone to set their thermostats to 65 degrees on a day when temperatures reached about 30 below with the windchill, after a fire took out one of their stations. That short-term rationing reminded Michiganders, in a visceral way, to conserve energy. We all know being energy efficient isn’t just for emergencies. It will save you money on gas and electric bills as well as help preserve the planet for future generations.
Ever wondered how much energy people use for various services? For most people, heating is the biggest at about 30 percent of total consumption, according to Consumers Energy. Luckily, it also is the one you can save the most money on when you follow best practices for being green. Cooling is next, with 17 percent. It’s no wonder with Michigan’s unpredictable weather that those two services comprise nearly half of your bill. The least amount of energy goes to electronics, with 4 percent. Water heating, appliances, lighting and miscellaneous comprise nearly half combined. We’ve compiled a few tips to keep use down in all areas in all seasons.
Heating and Cooling
1. Use a programmable thermostat to save up to 20 percent more energy.
2. Set your thermostat at:
•68 degrees when home
•65 degrees when away
•58 degrees when away
for five hours or more
•78 degrees or higher in the summer
3. Use a high energy efficiency–rated AC.
4. Install your AC in the shade.
5. Change your air filter regularly.
1. Take showers instead of baths.
2. Put a low-flow device on your showerhead.
3. Insulate your water heater.
4. Set your water heater and dishwasher temperature at 120 degrees.
5. Don’t let faucets drip.
Kitchen and Cooking
1. Thaw and cut foods before cooking.
2. Use lids on stovetop pots.
3. Use the correct size burner.
4. Use glass or ceramic cookware in the oven.
5. Don’t open the oven when it’s on.
6. Keep your fridge between 35 and 38 degrees.
7. Use kitchen cooking appliances when it’s cool outside.
1. Set the washer temperature to cold.
2. Wash large loads but dry small ones.
3. Don’t overdo with the detergent.
4. Use auto-dry, or if weather permits, hang to air-dry.
5. Clean the lint trap.
1. Devices use power when plugged in, so unplug them or use a smart power strip.
2. Weather-strip air leaks around windows and doors.
3. Get a smart porch light that’s brightest at night.
4. Don’t block airflow around ventilation ducts.
5. In the winter, cover up.
These great tips come from the Consumers Energy website. If you’re renting, or if you have tenants, check out the Multifamily Energy Efficiency program offered by Consumers.