Energy-Efficient New Year's Resolutions
It's resolution time again, and in addition to “hitting the gym” and “eating more kale,” how about making 2015 the year that you positively impact the environment? Here are some resolutions and tips that will get your home, office, or rental property operating as efficiently as you plan to in the new year.
Chances are, you've considered a variety of resolutions year after year and for good reason: resolving to change your habits for the better is a great way to start off a new year. But what about a feel-good resolution like becoming a better environmental steward? True, that’s a little broad. Where do you start?
Here are five specific resolutions for multifamily building owners, homeowners and tree huggers alike that are great starting points. Feeling like an overachiever? Try them all!
Start using power strips: Energy efficiency 101 begins with using power strips. They’re inexpensive and will pay for themselves in no time. “Phantom” or “vampire” energy usage (the process by which plugged-in electronics or appliances still use small amounts of electricity even though turned off) is easy to curb. All your peripheral, energy-sucking devices like televisions, computers, printers, lamps, toasters, coffee makers, and cell phone charges can be plugged into a power strip and controlled by one switch. You can even get an advanced or “smart” strip, that will make the transition even easier. The energy savings per day may be minimal, but over time it will add up!
Weather-proof: Insulating your building can offer energy savings of up to 10%, and it can be done quickly and easily. Here’s a great step-by-step guide to get you started. And whatever your motive (saving the world, increased comfort level or reducing your energy bills), here’s a handy ENERGY STAR® chart that will help you prioritize your projects and get the biggest ROI and improve your net operating income.
Replace inefficient appliances and lighting: Around 25% of a building’s energy usage can be chalked up to these two areas. If your home or apartment building’s thermostats, refrigerators, dishwashers, or clothes washers and dryers look and perform like relics, it’s time to consider new ones. Plus most ENERGY STAR-certified appliances are programmable which equates to even more potential savings.
Engage your social network: Peer pressure can be inspiring. Tell your tenants, housemates, friends, coworkers, family, and Twitter followers about your resolution. The more people who know about your goal, the better. These people will hold you accountable and get on your case when you leave lights on, crack a window next to the radiator, or buy incandescent bulbs (gasp). Better yet, get them on board with you by launching a competition based benchmarking (see #5). If you’re feeling particularly innovative, submit your energy-based entrepreneurial solution to the Great Energy Challenge for grant funding.
Benchmark your overall energy usage: Staring down 12 months of utility bills can be daunting, but peer-to-peer benchmarking is a key step toward seeing how your current energy usage stacks up, prioritizing your retrofit projects, and ultimately making a dent in utility payments. Get a free trial of WegoHome to start now. Or, if you have a portfolio of buildings, consider a WegoPremium demo to see how you can get even bigger savings out of your resolution.
So take these resolutions and put them into action. Set an energy-saving goal that will both challenge you, and serve as an attainable milestone to reach by year-end. Aim to reduce energy use by 5%, or cut your electricity use by 10%, or save $300 over last year. Whatever the goal, set it, and work towards it. Use a free energy benchmarking tool like WegoWise to discover ways to get there, and keep your destination in mind!
Now that you've resolved to reduce your energy use, spread the word! Start a challenge with your family, your coworkers, or your tenants. Reducing your carbon footprint can be fun and social, and saving energy is way easier than going to the gym every day!