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Five Tips to Cut Energy Costs by 10-40%

electricity2Businesses and homeowners can save plenty of green by following several key steps to reduce their energy use and eliminate energy vampires that can consume a significant percentage of a home’s energy costs.

A typical business can save between 10 percent and 40 percent each year on their energy costs by following five steps, according to an article written by Industrial Energy Audit for Renew Free Energy.

The first step should be to determine how much your business can save to ensure that the potential savings justify the potential expense. There are free Web tools available including Industrial Energy Audit’s tool that bases potential energy savings on annual energy spend, number of employees and facility square footage.

Step 2 is to select an energy auditor to provide your business with prioritized recommendations, followed by a walk-through (step 3). Industrial Energy Audit says to make sure you get detailed instructions from your consultant if you do the walk-through yourself so you know exactly what data is needed, where to look and how to gather the data.

Step 4 is to study the auditor’s report, followed by prioritizing and implementing the suggestions (step 5).

Energy audits can find significant savings. As an example, an energy audit saved Haynes $500,000 annually when it found that the company’s gas-fired reheat furnaces could be improved.

There are eight key areas — heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, washers and dryers, lighting, refrigerators, electronics, dishwashers and miscellaneous (cell phone chargers, home security systems, wall-mounted vacuum cleaners, etc.) — where home owners can reduce energy vampires that include coffee makers, cell phone chargers, cable boxes and computers, according to bnd.com.

The U.S. Department of Energy says roughly 75 percent of electricity — or more than $4 billion a year — used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off, according to the article.

According to a McKinsey report standby power alone is 6 percent to 8 percent of the total energy consumed. The report indicates that the United States can save more than $1.2 trillion in energy costs by implementing energy-efficiency measures through 2020.

As an example, heating and cooling systems can garner the biggest energy savings by as much as 45 percent, according to bnd.com. Adding a programmable thermostat alone can cut heating and cooling cots by as much as 20 percent by reducing your home’s temperature by five degrees at night and 10 degrees during the day.

Other changes that can add to the savings include adding water-heater insulating blankets (10 percent), replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFLs) bulbs (7 percent), and implementing sleep-mode for your computers and unplugging any electronics that you are not using (4 percent).

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