Turn down costs by conserving at home, workplace

By Joanita MileyMay 22, 2023

Turn down costs by conserving at home, workplace
Install a programmable thermostat that lets you schedule higher cooling and lower heating setpoints while it’s unoccupied during your workday (Photo Credit: Jo Anita Miley) VIEW ORIGINAL

The costs associated with heating and cooling your home and workplace are on a steady rise. Prices of course also high at other places like the grocery store and gas station.

Don Henderson, energy manager in the Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works, said there are various reasons for the increased cost of energy over the last two to three years.

“There has been a shorter supply of liquified natural gas, which fuels over 30% of American electricity,” he said. “When availability decreases but demand remains the same, cost goes up. The scarcity is due to the U.S. selling record amounts to Europe to replace the supply from Russia that has been drastically reduced during the war with Ukraine. Additionally, utility company operational costs have gone up to maintain grid stability and backup power. While Redstone Arsenal electricity prices have increased, our provider (TVA) still has among the lowest national rates, and a large portion of the power we receive is generated by their hydroelectric and nuclear plants, which helps minimizes the impact of natural gas price increases.”

Many are searching for ways to counteract the rise in costs at home and the workplace to reduce energy usage and save money year-round

Here are suggestions for cutting energy costs at home:

Install a programmable thermostat that lets you schedule higher cooling and lower heating setpoints while it’s unoccupied during your workday.

Switch to LED light bulbs. They can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use up to 80% less energy. They produce less heat, too.

Wash laundry in cold water. Hot water is only needed for very dirty items.
Turning your water heater thermostat down from 140 to 120 degrees can save 10% on your energy bill.

Unplug appliances/electronics when not in use – they consume energy when plugged in, even if they’re turned off.

Install low-flow shower heads. They use one-third to one-half the water that regular shower heads do.
Set your fridge temperature between 36 and 38 degrees and freezer temperature between 0 and 5 degrees.

Fix leaky faucets. Thirty drops a minute adds up to 600 gallons a year in wasted water. Also install low-flow aerators on faucets to reduce water use.

Buy Energy Star appliances. They’re more efficient and cost less to run. Look for the EnergyGuide yellow label on appliances. It’s the “second price tag” showing its annual operating cost.

Run your dishwasher with full loads. It costs the same to wash one dish as a full load. Using the air-dry option on your dishwasher also saves energy.

Going on vacation? Turn your AC thermostat up (cooling season) or down (heating season) and turn your water heater thermostat down (or off, if not at risk for freezing).

Here are suggestions for conserving at the workplace:

Let the Directorate of Public Works energy team know if your facility still has old fluorescent lights. They can help devise a project to get them replaced with light-emitting diode or LED lighting.

Check for missing insulation on hot and chilled water piping, steam and condensate piping, and ductwork. Submit a work order to make any needed repairs.

Submit a work order to repair any leaking faucets, shower heads or toilets.

Maintain server racks in a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration. Use air curtains to physically separate aisles. Install blanks in empty rack spaces to prevent cold air from escaping to the hot aisle.

Look under floor tiles in server rooms to make sure cables are not blocking airflow.
In high bays, keep roll-up doors closed when not in use during heating season. Install an air curtain on frequently used roll-up doors.

Check door seals on refrigerators and freezers for cracks and leaks.

Use power strips with an adjustable occupancy sensor. This will automatically turn off office equipment (printer, monitor, desk lamp, etc.) when you’re not there, but allow your CPU to remain on.

Check windows and doors for a proper air-tight seal. Submit a work order to replace deteriorated caulking or weather-stripping

Compressed air/small leaks add up to lots of wasted dollars. So does using a higher PSI than needed for your operations. (Every 2 PSI increase equals 1% energy cost increase.)

For more information about improving the energy or water efficiency in your work facility or home, call Henderson at 256-876-1677.