By SOPHIA MOUNDOUS
Sustainability Assistant, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County
October is all about fall colors, pumpkins, and Halloween costumes. Here at Sarasota County Sustainability, we are also excited about October because it is National Energy Awareness Month, and today, Oct. 2, is Energy Efficiency Day!
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designates October as National Energy Awareness Month to encourage governments and organizations to highlight the importance of managing the nation’s energy resources sustainably. Oct. 2, 2019, is the Fourth Annual Energy Efficiency Day. It is a collaborative effort of many energy efficiency advocacy groups around the United States including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Advanced Energy Economy, Alliance to Save Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations, and many others. Energy Efficiency Day was created to share tips, tools, and showcase the many benefits of energy efficiency.
This month, we encourage you to be more aware of your energy use and try to reduce your energy consumption by making your home and office more efficient. Reducing your energy consumption is easier than you think, and everyone has access to participate in energy efficiency. There are many simple and no-cost things that you can do every day that can make a big difference for your energy bills and the environment!
Below are a few different ways that you can reduce your energy use at home, at work, and in other areas of your everyday life. Throughout the month, we will showcase the benefits of energy efficiency, provide more energy efficiency tips, stories, and more on our Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to follow us! We encourage you to share your own energy efficiency success stories with us throughout the month of October.
Reduce Your Energy Use at Home
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room
- Set your refrigerator temperature between 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit
- Set your freezer temperature between 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit
- Check your refrigerator door gaskets to ensure a tight seal
- Let foods cool down before you put them in the refrigerator or freezer
- Adjust your air conditioning to a higher temperature when you leave your home
- Turn fans off when the room is unoccupied
- Close your curtains in the summer to block out the heat
- Run your dishwasher with full loads and use the air-dry option
- Turn your water heater temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Clean your dryer lint trap after every load
- Keep your tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage
- Replace light bulbs in your home to LED light bulbs
- Seal gaps with caulk, weather stripping, and foam around windows, vents, doors, and areas where electrical and plumbing penetrate walls
- Use a “smart” power strip as a central “turn-off” point for electronics when not in use
- Check your AC filter every month and change it regularly
- Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat
- Replace inefficient ceiling or wall mounted light fixtures with ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures
- Ensure attic insulation is adequate and add if needed
- When buying new electronics and appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label
- Shade east, west, and south sides of your home by adding trees and awnings
- Add window film to your windows
- Consider an ENERGY STAR-labeled white or metal roof
- Upgrade your heating and cooling system to a higher-efficiency system and make sure to get the right size unit
- Replace windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified units
- Consider purchasing a solar pool cover
Reduce Your Energy Use at Work
- Turn off all electronics after each meeting
- Turn off your computer and screen at the end of each day
- Turn off your monitor when away from your desk
- Turn off all lights when rooms are unoccupied
- Unplug unnecessary plug loads when not in use like cell phone or laptop chargers
- Use “smart” power strips for your desk electronics
- Carpool to work
- Ensure all lights are LED
- Purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, electronics, and other products for your office
Other ways to be more energy-aware and efficient
- Florida Power and Light provides a free Home Energy Survey and free Online Home Energy Survey to help you find out the energy efficiency of your home. FPL offers these other energy saving programs and rebates for your home as well.
- Visit DOE’s Energy Saver site for measures you can take to make your property more energy efficient and their Professional Home Energy Audits website to read about the energy audit process, tips, and what to expect.
- Sarasota County offers Energy Upgrade workshops that provide information on how to save energy and water in your home. Attendees of these workshops receive a free DIY Energy Saving Kit to use at home. For more information on the Energy Upgrade Program and request a speaker, visit the Energy Upgrade website or email SustainableSarasota@scgov.net.
- Become an Energy Coach volunteer! Our Energy Coach volunteers attend a five-session course to learn energy- and water-saving techniques to aid low-income residents through educational programming and energy sweeps. For more information on our volunteer program, visit the Energy Upgrade website or email SustainableSarasota@scgov.net.
- Checkout our DIY Energy and Water Audit Kit from a Sarasota County library. The kit is designed for homeowners who would like to go much further into detail in analyzing their home’s energy and water use and quantifying savings. It provides a step-by-step guide, as well as the technical equipment necessary to determine specific energy and water use profiles and solutions for the home. Visit the library catalogue to reserve your kit today, and the Energy Upgrade website to learn more about the kit.
- Visit Energy Efficiency Day to learn about the event, benefits of energy efficiency, tips, and more.
- Read the Energy Efficiency Fast Facts.
- Visit DOE’s Energy Awareness Month site to learn about the event and build awareness in your agency.