Give your home an energy-use survey, make a few simple, inexpensive changes and save energy, dollars and Mother Earth.
It’s more than a little simplistic to think by turning down the thermostat and changing our lighting to CFL or LED we can save the planet, but the truth is, every time one of us reduces our energy consumption, that means less harmful emissions released into the environment. Multiply that by several million of us and we have started to make a real difference.
As they say, ‘charity begins at home,’ and our homes are a great place to start reducing energy consumption. Not sure how to get started? Many utility companies offer their residential customers information, including free energy surveys and other programs to identify areas of the home that can use some improvement to lower energy use and utility bills.
Well-Being spoke with Mara Hartmann of Entergy Mississippi, Inc., about Entergy Solutions programs, such as the Residential Energy Audit and Direct Install Program, Residential Heating and Cooling Program and A/C Tune-up Program.
“Our Energy Solutions programs are designed to show residential customers where they are using more energy than necessary and recommend changes to make their homes more energy efficient and lower their power bills at the same time,” notes Hartmann. “There are some simple and very inexpensive things that homeowners can do themselves that can start saving energy right away, such as keeping thermostats at the optimal temperature, 78o in summer and 68o in winter. If 78o seems a little warmer than you are accustomed to, using a ceiling fan in the room can make the room feel cooler without having to lower the thermostat. Other common updates that you can do yourself, include, using an insulated wrap on water heaters, replacing weather stripping around doors and windows, and replacing your old incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs. These are just a few of the things our energy experts will look for when they survey your home.”
The energy audit focuses on several areas, as Hartmann mentioned, where energy efficiency can be improved: insulation levels; air leaks; heating and cooling systems; windows and doors; lighting and appliances and water-heating equipment. After the Entergy representative conducts a walk-through of your home (that takes about an hour), you will receive a simple report summarizing the findings and opportunities to reduce energy costs.
Need to replace outdated, energy-hogging incandescent light bulbs, Entergy’s residential lighting program can save you up to $1.50 on CFL bulbs and up to $4.00 on LED lighting, when you shop at a participating retailer.
Keeping your heating and cooling system in good working order is another way to make sure your energy dollars are not wasted. Rebates on air conditioning tune-ups by participating contractors are also available for qualified customers.
“Besides the obvious ways saving energy benefits our customers, an energy efficient home is also a healthier home,” adds Hartmann. “Keeping heating and cooling system filters and ductwork clean, having your system checked at least once a year, keeping thermostats at recommended levels, and simply opening the curtains or blinds to let in the sun’s energy in winter and closing them to keep out unwanted heat in the summer are simple steps that can make your home more comfortable, healthier and safer.
Energy-saving programs and services provided by Entergy Mississippi are available to Entergy customers in the 45 Mississippi counties Entergy serves. (Visit entergysolutionsms.com) Similar programs are provided by other public utilities operating in the state. To learn more about what is available to you as a customer, contact your local utility company about how you can make your home more energy-efficient, save energy dollars and do something nice for your mother…Mother Earth, that is.