Efficiency tip sheet

MARQUETTE — The Superior Watershed Partnership’s home energy assessment program is designed to help income-qualified households conserve energy and reduce utility bills, but organizers emphasized there are a number of basic energy efficiency and weatherization strategies the general public can use to reduce energy usage.

“Weatherizing your home will help you save energy, save money and improve the comfort and health of your home,” said Emily Leach, program manager at the Superior Watershed Partnership.

Weatherization and energy efficiency tips from Leach include:

≤ Adding insulation, draft sealant, spray foam, caulking and door sweeps to minimize air flow into the home from outdoors

≤ Replacing older appliances with more efficient Energy Star appliances

≤ Checking seals on ductwork and adding pipe wrap

≤ Turning hot water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will reduce energy usage and the chance of burns

≤ Adding a programmable thermostat to the household to manage the temperature throughout the day and keep it lower during the evenings and when the home is empty

≤ Replacing windows and doors with energy-saving models, or look into options to reduce drafts from windows and doors

Another strategy to reduce energy usage is to change out incandescent bulbs to LED lighting, Leach said, noting these can save a great deal of energy and money — and even pay for themselves over time.

Furthermore, Leach said it’s important for households to take a look at their energy usage habits and maintenance of appliances, as simple fixes such as changing out furnace filters on a monthly basis and keeping refrigerator coils clean can make a big impact.

Making sure to turn out the lights when not in use and using natural lighting in the home as much as possible can also make an impact, she said, as light fixtures account for around 5 percent of a typical household’s usage.

Overall, Leach said, using these tips can help a household’s pocketbook and the planet.

“By changing your habits and doing small fixes to your home, your office or wherever you can make a difference and slow down climate change,” she said.

Leach also recommended the following resources:

• The US Dept. of Energy; Energy Saver Guide, which includes a do-it-yourself home energy audit guide: www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/10/f37/Energy_Saver_Guide-2017-en.pdf

• The Home Energy Saver Tool, which can be found at http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer, provides estimates for return on investment, yearly savings and payback times, Leach said.

• The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, which can be found at www.dsireusa.org, outlines federal, state, local, and utility incentives such as tax credits and rebates.

• Rebates from Efficiency United, found at www.efficiencyunited.com/select-utility, offers rebate information for consumers.