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Keep Your Lifestyle, Save Energy

26 August 2010

Dear readers:

It looks like it’s time to sit down and have a little talk.   A recent Columbia University study of over 500 people across 34 states found that 20% of respondents thought that turning off lights is the single best approach to saving energy in their homes.

TIME. OUT. Now, there is definitely a spectrum of actions to help save energy in homes, and turning off lights is one of those actions.  It’s a great action that everyone should do! But it is not the “single best approach” by a long shot.  A very, very, very long shot.  A very, VERY long shot.

“[S]witching to efficient technologies generally allows you to maintain your behavior, and save a great deal more energy.”

The difference is between EFFICIENCY and CONSERVATION.  Turning off lights, taking shorter showers and hanging clothes to dry are methods of conservation  – changes to your behavior that save energy.  Don’t get me wrong, those actions definitely make a difference in your home.  But efficiency has a bigger impact on your utility bills and energy use. For example, if you replace your 20 year old refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR unit, you will save energy and money without changing how you use your fridge.

So, what should American homeowners should be focused on?  The #1 action you could take in your home to save energy is making sure your attic bypasses are sealed and that you have enough insulation in your attic. Considering the tax credits, utility rebates and other resources available to help defray the costs, attic insulation and air sealing is also one of the most cost effective actions.

And when you pair efficient equipment with conservation habits?  That’s the sweet spot of energy efficiency.

:: USA Today, Minnesota Energy Challenge (for efficiency and conservation ideas!)

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