Energy-Saving Tips

Homeowners save energy and money with Energy Star tips!

Get a Home Energy Audit - Home energy auditors are trained and certified in how to find energy problems using specialized equipment to pinpoint key areas for improvement and provide customized recommended solutions. Fridley has two-hour Home Energy Squad Enhanced visits now available through a partnership between the Center for Energy & Environment (CEE) and the Fridley Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). For $50, you get a customized energy consultation and a variety of energy saving products installed, over a $200 value.

For more information about the Home Energy Audit or to schedule your visit, CLICK HERE or call Beth at (612) 335-5874.

Seal and Insulate - The average home spends $2,000 on utility bills each year. Heating and cooling costs account for nearly half. Energy Star estimates that homeowners can save up to 10% on heating and cooling by sealing air leaks and adding insulation. Learn more through the “Rule Your Attic!” campaign, which encourages homeowners to measure their attic insulation levels as a first step toward making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable. More: Energy Star Rule Your Attic

Heat Efficiently – Energy Star recommends that homeowners check their HVAC system air filters monthly. A dirty filter slows air flow and makes the system work harder — wasting energy and possibly shortening the life of the system. A good rule to follow is change the filter every 3 months. Energy Star also recommends that homeowners have HVAC systems serviced annually by a licensed contractor to ensure they’re running at optimum efficiency. If the heating system is over 15 years old, consider replacing it with a high efficiency unit. Today's Energy Star certified condensing furnaces operate at over 90 % efficiency.  Replacing old heating and cooling equipment with newly certified Energy Star equipment can cut annual energy bills by more than $115.

Use a Programmable Thermostat. Avoid heating the house when not necessary, and save almost $200 a year. Programming the thermostat to turn the temperature down 8 degrees for 7 hours each night and an additional 7 hours each weekday could result in a seasonal heating savings of approximately 12 percent.

Make “Bright” Choices For Lighting. To get the energy efficiency and performance expected, look for the Energy Star label. LED bulbs that earn the label are independently certified to ensure they deliver on brightness and color and shine light where it’s needed. More from Energy Star: The "Bright" Choice.

Choose Energy Star Certified Electronics. A home equipped with TVs, set-top boxes, a Blu-Ray player, and a home theatre in a box that have all earned the Energy Star can save more than $280 over the life of the products. If streaming movies or videos over the Internet, remember that laptops and tablets use less energy compared to streaming over desktop computers or game consoles.

Tips from EPA’s WaterSense Program include:

Many Americans know about the importance of saving energy and water. But few know about the drops-to-watts connection – it takes energy to pump, treat, heat, and deliver the water we use every day for showering, bathing, and cooking. In fact, homes with electric water heaters spend ¼ of their total electric bills just to heat water. 

Save 2,900 Gallons of Water at Home.

One of the easiest ways to save energy and water is to install water-efficient, high-performing WaterSense labeled products such as showerheads. By replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, EPA estimates the average family can save 2,900 gallons of water, or the amount of electricity needed to power an entire home for 13 days. Read More on EPA’s WaterSense Tips

Learn more about how saving water saves energy.

Lighting accounts for 5-12% of total energy use in the average home and costs $50 to $150 per year in electricity. That might not sound like a huge amount, but when you multiply that by the more 11,000 households in Fridley, it adds up fast.

Fridley residents can use the Right Light Guide—to make smart lighting choices, to save money and energy. The guide can be downloaded HERE, where consumers will find answers to many frequently asked questions about new light bulbs on the market. The “Right Light Guide,” uses straightforward graphics to inform people about the brightness and color of bulbs. It also lets them compare the pros, cons, and costs associated with using CFLs and LEDs against incandescent bulbs. Switching to energy-efficient bulbs, for instance, can save 85% in costs when electricity cost, bulb cost, and replacement cost are taken into account. After reading the Right Light Guide,people can head to the store ready to look at light bulb packaging and find the ones they need.

Due to federal legislation, the 40 watt and 60 watt incandescent bulbs were discontinued in 2014. According to a recent survey, though, only 4 out of 10 consumers were aware that 60 and 40 watt bulbs were phased out (75 watt was phased out in 2013 and 100 watt in 2012).

Improvements made by the lighting industry, have created a bewildering number of choices when residents walk down the lighting aisle in a hardware, grocery or home improvement store.

In the last two years, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs have become more reliable and although, CFL bulb costs are nearly as low as incandescent bulbs, they contain mercury and need to be taken to special collection places or the Anoka County Hazardous Waste facility in Blaine. Fridley Residential Drop-off days have a special collection of compact fluorescent bulbs and tubes twice each year. The next collection will be May 2, 2015 at the Fridley Public Works garage.

Also in the last two years, LED (light emitting diode) technology has advanced significantly and LED light bulb prices have dropped dramatically. There are several sizes and light quality choices to be made with LEDs, just like compact fluorescent light bulbs. “Who’d think that picking out a light bulb could be so overwhelming?”

The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams have developed a fact sheet because a lot of lighting choices out there today are confusing and it is difficult to get at exact equivalencies to our old 40, 60 and 75 watt incandescent bulbs.

A “Lighting Facts” label, found on all light bulb packages, contains the essential information needed to make a purchasing decision. Most CFL and LED bulbs now have information about how they compare to a 40 or 60 incandescent bulb right on the package to make things a bit easier.

Another tip is to look for bulbs that have the energy star certification which means that the bulb has gone through testing for high efficiency, performance, and reliability.

 

Keep Furnaces Operating Safely: Clear Snow and Ice from Vents and Intakes

The Minnesota Department of Commerce and the City of Fridley asks residents to keep furnace exhaust vents, air intake hoods, and chimneys clear of snow and ice in order to keep the heat on and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Homeowners with high-efficiency furnaces and other vented combustion appliances may have air intake and exhaust vents that exit the home through an exterior sidewall rather than a chimney. Water heaters, clothes dryers, and air-to-air heat exchangers may have similar sidewall vents. If the vents are covered by snowfalls or drifts, it may prevent the fresh air intake needed to operate the appliance. Some furnaces will shut off automatically if intakes or exhausts are smothered by snow and ice, which is happening around our communities. However, for those that continue to run, carbon monoxide (CO) can build up in the home and cause a very dangerous situation. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can be lethal.

To prevent the dangerous backdrafting of CO and to help keep your combustion appliances operating safely:

Minnesota building code requires that intake and exhaust vents be located not less than 12 inches above ground to prevent clogging. Also, buildup of snow and ice on gas and electric meters can cause them to malfunction; utilities recommend keeping them clear.

A well-functioning, older, less-efficient furnace that vents through the chimney will usually create exhaust temperatures that are hot enough to melt any snow that might collect on the chimney. But it’s a good idea to check chimneys and rooftop vents (such as on manufactured homes) to make sure they are not snow clogged. If you suspect a problem, clear the snow if it can be done safely or hire a snow removal pro.

Home Energy Squad Program Subsidy Available to Fridley Homeowners

If you’re like many Fridley residents you're always looking for ways to improve your home by making it more efficient and comfortable. Sometimes it's hard to know where to start and which investments will have the best payback. Fortunately, there is now an affordable, comprehensive residential energy saving program available to you -Home Energy Squad Enhanced. This program helps you start saving money and energy right away. The two-hour Home Energy Squad Enhanced visits are now available through a partnership between the Center for Energy & Environment (CEE) and the Fridley Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). For $50, you get a customized energy consultation and a variety of energy saving products installed, over a $200 value.

Products that can be installed at visit:

  • Door weather stripping
  • Programmable thermostat
  • CFLs – standard and decorative
  • High-efficiency shower heads
  • Kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators
  • Water heater blanket

Services included in visit:

  • Blower door test to check for air leaks
  • Insulation Inspection
  • Combustion safety test on heating system and water heater
  • Product installation
  • Home Energy Fitness Report

For more information or to schedule your visit,  go to: www.mncee.org/hes-fridley or call Beth at (612)335-5874