Mt. Vernon Register-News

Features

July 25, 2013

Make summer the season for saving energy

Whether replacing light bulbs or unplugging your unused cellphone charger, small changes can make a big impact on your electricity bill this summer and beyond.

Kristinn Leonhart, spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, said the average home has about 30 light fixtures, together consuming more electricity than a home's washer and dryer, refrigerator and dishwasher combined.

And because regular incandescent light bulbs emit heat, she said, using more-energy-efficient bulbs in your home's most-used fixtures makes a significant difference.

"Replace them with more-energy-efficient bulbs, which use less energy and produce about 75 percent less heat," Leonhart said. "They're good for cooling bills."

The two kinds of energy-efficient bulbs Energy Star certifies are compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED), both of which have longer life spans than conventional incandescent bulbs.

Another small change with major impact? Resetting the thermostat.

Cindy Olson, vice president of the green energy consulting firm Eco-Coach, said air conditioners are often left on when no one is home and set to temperatures lower than is necessary for comfort.

"It is something that is very personal," Olson said. "A lot of times, simply air movement is enough to be comfortable, even with just a ceiling fan."

Test how you and your family feel by adjusting the temperature up by one or two degrees at a time. Every degree of change, she said, can make a 2 percent difference on your utility bill. An air-conditioning system can account for 30 percent of an energy bill in the summer, according to power company data.

Updates in technology have made new central air systems, often with programmable thermostats, at least 15 percent more efficient than older models. If you aren't ready to replace your central air-conditioning unit altogether — the EPA suggests doing so if it is more than 10 years old — regular maintenance will ensure your unit is running as efficiently as it can. A dirty air filter, for example, can damage equipment and cause early breakdown.

Text Only
Features
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.09.32 PM.png VIDEO: Stars react to Robin Williams' death

    Prior to the premiere of “The Expendables 3” in Los Angeles, several movie stars shared their thoughts on the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • job-fair.jpg Job market tilting toward workers

    The balance of power in the job market is shifting slowly toward employees from employers.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • ruralpoverty.jpg How rural poverty is changing: Your fate is increasingly tied to your town

    The town of Las Animas takes about five minutes to drive through when the one stoplight is blinking yellow, as usual. It's easy to miss but hard to escape. Just ask Frank Martinez.

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dartmouth.jpg Break the college cartel

    Ask liberals why college is getting so expensive, and they'll probably tell you it's a case of government neglect. Ask conservatives the same question, and they'll tell you the opposite.

    August 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.43.11 PM.png Your brain helps you judge a face before you even see it

    In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers report that the amygdala — a part of the brain associated with decision making, memory and emotion — plays a part in telling us who to trust almost instantly.

    August 6, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks