By Guest Blogger: Suzanne Grant, APR Spokesperson/Lead Communications Specialist Progress Energy
New window treatments, a few throw pillows and a fresh coat of paint can update a home’s interior by adding style and sophistication. According to Progress Energy Florida, some decorating changes can also help trim your electric bill and make your home feel more comfortable all year round.
“When considering a room makeover look for options that will improve energy efficiency while adding to the room’s look and feel,” says Kim Berghoefer, a Progress Energy energy-efficiency expert. “Upgraded lighting, appropriate window treatments and other small changes can add up to significant savings on electric bills.”
Progress Energy Florida suggests customers consider the following 10 tips when updating their home’s décor:
Dress windows to block the sun. Use curtains, blinds, shades or interior shutters to help block the sun’s hot rays during warmer months. Select a style that can be opened or pulled back to use the sun’s warmth during cold winter days.
Select seasonally appropriate bedding. Consider using multiple layers to allow yourself to adjust the covers depending on the room’s temperature. This will help you remain comfortable when the thermostat is set to the optimal temperature – 65 to 68 degrees at night and 68 to70 degrees in the day during the cooler months or 78 degrees or higher during the warmer months. Setting your thermostat appropriately can save you more than $300 a year.
Add cozy, warming winter touches during the cooler months. Drape snuggly, soft throws in rich tones accenting your color scheme on your favorite chair or sofa. Add plush area rugs to warm up cold tile, wood or laminate floors. Both ideas will help you feel comfortable in a slightly cooler room and save you money on heating all winter long.
Install ceiling fans in bedroom and living space. The average ceiling fan uses no more electricity than a light bulb, but can make a room feel three to four degrees cooler. Ensure the fan is the proper size for the room – the larger the room, the larger the fan. For a room up to 50 square feet, choose a 29 inch fan. Choose a 36 inch fan for a room up to 75 square feet, a 42 inch for a room 10 foot x 10 foot or 100 square feet, and a 50 to 52 inch fan for up to 400 square feet. Look for ceiling fan/light combinations that have earned the ENERGY STAR® label. According to the U.S Department of Energy, these units are about 50 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units and can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills. But be sure to only have the fan on when the room is occupied. Fans cool people, not rooms.
Select efficient lighting. A typical household spends nearly 10 percent of its annual energy budget on lighting. When redecorating carefully consider lamp and lighting fixture placement and use. Add task lighting at the desk in the den or a reading lamp in the living room to concentrate the light to the area where you need it rather than continually relying on an overhead fixture lighting the entire space. Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent (CFL) bulbs that use 75 percent less energy. While CFL bulbs may initially cost a bit more, they last 10 times longer and don’t heat up like traditional bulbs and halogen lights. Replacing just eight frequently used blubs with CFLs can save you $140 per year.
Use sun-shading window film. Save your new furniture, wallpaper and paint from fading and keep your home cooler with window film designed to block UV rays. Window film can help you save more than $130 per year. Plus, Progress Energy customers can qualify for a rebate of up to $100.
Place furniture away from vents. When rearranging furniture don’t make your heater or AC work harder than it has to. Make sure drapes and furniture aren’t blocking any air vents.
Replace outdated shower and faucet fixtures. Low-flow showerheads not only save on water and the electricity used to heat water, but come in many stylish finishes to update your decor. Be sure sink faucets have aerators to use less water while maintaining standard water pressure.
Fix up the fireplace. Install glass fireplace doors to keep conditioned air from escaping out the flue and reduce uncomfortable drafts.
Choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. When remodeling a kitchen or laundry room, select energy-efficient appliances by looking for the blue ENERGY STAR label and saving hundreds of dollars on electricity per appliance depending on the unit selected and replaced. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified televisions and other electronics when decorating plans include upgrading to a new unit. An ENERGY STAR TV uses about 40 percent less energy than standard units helping keep your electric bill lower.
Progress Energy offers a wide variety of energy-saving information and rebates to help customers with the cost of some energy-saving home improvements. To participate, the first step is to complete a Home Energy Check available at http://www.savethewatts.com/. Customers can also call 1.877.574.0340 to complete an assessment over the phone or schedule an in-home visit by a Progress Energy advisor. Following a Home Energy Check, each customer receives an analysis of the home’s energy use and a list of customized, energy-saving recommendations.
Progress Energy has one of the nation’s leading energy-efficiency programs with more than 100 measures. Since 1981, our customers have saved more than $1 billion through our energy-efficiency programs – or enough electricity to power the city of St Petersburg for more than 5 years.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit http://www.progress-energy.com.