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NC GreenPower Tips

SECU has partnered with NC GreenPower in order to provide energy saving tips that will save members money as well as benefit the environment. These are easy and quick adjustments that can be made without drastic changes to ones day to day life.

Helpful Tips


Most Recent

  • When doing laundry, separate lighter fabric wash loads from heavy garments for optimum drying times.

Appliances

  • When doing laundry, separate lighter fabric wash loads from heavy garments for optimum drying times.
  • Let your dishes air dry in your dishwasher instead of using the heated drying cycle. If you don’t have an automatic air-dry button, turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
  • Dry several loads of clothes in succession. A warm dryer gives the process a head start and therefore uses less electricity.
  • When cooking on the stove, match your pot size to the burner. Heat is lost when small pots are used on large burners.
  • Try cooking dinner using only the microwave and/or toaster oven. It saves more than 30% of the energy required to cook in a conventional oven.
  • When you can, use the microwave or other appliances instead of the stove or oven. Smaller appliances use less energy.
  • Your laundry detergent works just as well in cold water. Always wash with cold water and save at least $40 per year.
  • Wash your clothes in the coolest water possible. About 80% of the energy used to run your washer comes from heating the water.
  • When it comes time to replace appliances and electronics, buy products that have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating. These products provide the features and performance you want while saving energy and reducing greenhouse emissions.
  • Unless it's filled to capacity, consider unplugging that second refrigerator in the garage or utility room and see substantial savings on your power bill!
  • As part of your spring cleaning routine, make sure your refrigerator's condenser coils are cleaned so air can circulate freely. When dust and pet hair build up on the coils the motor works harder and uses more electricity.

Auto

  • Easy does it with your gas and brake pedals! Abrupt starts and hard stops when driving can increase fuel consumption by 40%.
  • Wash your car at a commercial carwash. They reuse their water and prevent oil and grime from entering the sewer system.
  • The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. No more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed - anything more wastes fuel and increases emissions.
  • Replace clogged air filters to protect your car's engine and improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
  • Avoid aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking). It can make a difference in highway gas mileage of 33% and city mileage of 5%.

Computer

  • If you're going to be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, turn off the monitor; for more than 2 hours, turn off the computer.
  • Looking for a new computer? Consider a laptop - it uses less energy than a desktop computer.
  • Screensavers are fun, but they don't save energy. Set your computer to energy-saving sleep mode, or turn off your computer when you're not using it.

General

  • Make sure the fan switch on your thermostat is in the "Auto" position. Leaving the switch on "Auto" rather than "On" can save you up to $600 each year.
  • Use a power strip for electronics to manage standby electricity usage. Unplug or turn off the power strip when electronics are not in use. Turning off the TV or stereo when not in use can save $100–200 per year.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually. Learn how to protect your family: www.epa.gov/radon.
  • Use water saving WaterSense® labeled showerheads and faucet taps to reduce your hot water use. A shower head rated to use less than 1.8 gallons per minute (gpm) will save between $10 and $40 each year.
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified light bulbs save you money! Each bulb will save about $6 per year in electricity costs and can save more than $40 over its lifetime.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to save money. Set the temperature to vary during the day depending on whether you're home or away.
  • Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely through your home.
  • When entertaining, lower the thermostat a degree or two before the guests arrive. With a larger number of people occupying your home's space, your usual temperature setting may be too warm.
  • Unplug phone chargers and other battery chargers that may be using power when not in use.
  • Halogen bulbs put off enough heat to be a fire hazard. Replace them with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. CFLs use less energy, produce equal light and don't get as hot.
  • One compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb is four times more efficient than a regular bulb, while giving off the same amount of light.
  • Instead of sending old rugs, towels and blankets to the landfill, donate them to your local animal shelters.
  • Dirty filters waste energy. Change your filters monthly for optimum efficiency.
  • Install energy saving low-flow shower heads to reduce hot water usage.
  • Do you still leave the water on when you brush your teeth? Turning off the tap can save 8 gallons of water per day, per person.
  • To find out how energy efficient your home is and tips for improvements go to www.energystar.gov and click on "Energy Star Home Advisor."

Spring/Summer

  • A properly closed crawl space can save homeowners up to 18% on heating and cooling bills.
  • Regularly inspect your attic, crawl space and home for signs of mildew and water leaks.
  • Keep in mind that lights, appliances and people can make your home hotter, so be mindful of using heat-producing appliances on hot days.
  • Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs.
  • If you have central air conditioning, close the air vents in rooms you’re not using so you’re not paying to cool them.
  • Reduce home water consumption by directing rainwater from your down spouts to vegetated areas or collecting rainwater in a barrel.
  • Water your garden in the early morning or late evening. During these cooler hours, less water is lost through evaporation.
  • Close blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day. This keeps the strong sunlight from heating your home.
  • Postpone laundry and dishwashing until nighttime to avoid generating extra heat in your home. Also, consider taking advantage of the warmer air and dry your laundry outside.
  • Instead of using your stove or oven, which can generate heat on an already hot day, fire up the outdoor grill. Your stove and air conditioning unit will thank you!
  • Need a reason to grill out? Using the oven in the summer forces your A/C to work harder and make the house less comfortable.
  • Use shades or drapes to block the hot sun from heating up your home. Use awnings, trees and shrubs to shade your home.
  • When the A/C is on, close all doors and windows tightly. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
  • Running an inefficient A/C system can result in high monthly bills, so save money and give your A/C a tune-up. Plus, you may qualify for rebates from your utility company.
  • Set your temperature a little higher. Most people are comfortable with a setting of 78-80 degrees, plus you'll save 7-10% of your cooling costs for each degree above 78.
  • Get the most comfort from your ceiling fan. In the summer, it should turn in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Ceiling fans use no more electricity than light bulbs and can make you feel three to four degrees cooler. Turn off your fans when you leave - they only cool people, not rooms.
  • Use a fan to keep cool and ease the strain on your A/C. Fans move air which cools the body and use far less energy than a standard air conditioning unit.

Fall/Winter

  • Cover bare floors. Carpeting or rugs add comfort and increase heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Raise your home's temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heat pump's temperature activates the heat strip, which uses lots of energy.
  • Set your thermostat to 60 degrees if going on vacation during the winter months, but don't turn it completely off.
  • Using a programmable thermostat for your home can cut your energy consumption by 15% and save you money.
  • Be sure to weather-strip doors and caulk windows to prevent the loss of heat from your home.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath or other ventilating fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing to retain heated air.
  • Heating can account for almost half of the average family's winter energy bill. Make sure your furnace or heat pump receives professional maintenance each year.
  • Ceiling fans can help keep you comfortable even in winter. Reversing the direction of the blades pushes warm air down into the room. Fans should turn counter-clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.
  • Try to keep your thermostat at 68° during the day. Lower your thermostat 5° at night or when leaving your home for several hours to save on your heating costs.
  • During the winter months, set your thermostat at 68 to 70°F during the day and 60 to 65°F at night.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting or curtains.
  • Don't make your heater work harder than it has to - make sure furniture and curtains aren't blocking any vents.
  • Give your home's outdoor heating unit the space it needs to work most efficiently. Never stack anything against or cover the unit.
  • Keep shades up in the winter and remove any obstructions to sun-facing windows to allow the heat of the sun to warm your home.
  • Have your insulation checked and repair small leaks around the house. Maintaining your home can lead to significant savings in your power bill.
Look for helpful tips, like these, and even more ideas to appear in the current edition of Grassroots as well as upcoming releases. For more information visit NC GreenPower as well as our Grassroots newsletter.

*Quoted rates, dividends, annual percentage yields (APY) and rates (APR) are subject to change daily at the discretion of the Board of Directors.