You can reduce your carbon footprint with a few simple tips to help you save money, save the planet, and save your peace of mind.
Check with your utility about any energy efficiency programs available to residents.
- Free at-home energy assessments are offered by ComEd and Ameren. They offer free efficiency upgrades (LED bulbs, low-flow showerheads, programmable thermostats) and will install them on the spot.
- “Demand response” programs reward you for using less energy during peak energy usage hours and thus help you save money while saving the planet. For example, ComEd’s Peak Time Savings and Ameren’s Peak Time Rewards programs both offer credits on your power bill for reducing energy consumption when the demand is high. Also, learn more about ComEd’s Hourly Pricing and Ameren’s Power Smart Pricing programs. They charge you an hourly, and often lower, rate for power during off-peak times. Those programs have been saving customers an average of 10-15 percent on the supply portion of bills.
- Check on community solar deals available in your area for ways to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without installing your own solar panels. Solar for All is Illinois’ solar program for lower-income participants. This could be a perfect fit for renters and apartment dwellers. (Visit the Solar for All website to see if you qualify.)
DIY Energy Efficiency
You can also increase energy efficiency with a few simple home maintenance tips.
- Clean your air conditioning unit and filters to make sure they are running efficiently, and if you have central air, schedule your yearly check up with the HVAC technician. Be smart about the AC–put it at the right temperature during the summer, and turn it off when you’re not at home to cut energy costs.
- Keep the cold air in by locating and sealing drafts in windows, doors, and floors. Many Illinois utilities offer rebates for sealing and insulation. Energy Star has a great guide for getting started, and don’t forget to check the attic and crawl spaces.
- For your ceiling fans, this is a good time of year to change direction. Run it counterclockwise, from your position looking up at it, to push cool air down. Using a fan and bumping up your thermostat a few degrees will save your comfort and money. In the cooler evenings, consider opening a window to cool off the house, before you close it up the next morning.
CUB Supporters’ Tips
We get some of our best tips from you. For Earth Month, we’re asking CUB supporters to fill out a survey on how to fight climate change at home for the chance to win a bundle of LED light bulbs, and potentially save hundreds of dollars. Here are a few favorite tips we’ve received so far:
- “I do several basic things: adjusting my thermostat, lowering the setting on my hot water tank (CUB note: Setting it at 120 degrees, or the “warm” setting, is recommended) turning off lights when not needed, recycling, using my own bags when grocery shopping. I also combine errands, so driving is kept to a minimum.” -Thomas
- “We subscribe to a community solar power program, hang up our laundry to dry instead of using a dryer, use fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible in the summer, combine errands when going out in the car, and starting to compost food waste.” -Cheryl
- “I wash all my laundry in cold water and I try to be very conscious of how I dispose of recyclable items. I also pass along clothing and shoes that I no longer wear, since many items are unused.” -Sheila
As you can see, there are many things we can do that may not seem like much, but together they help make a huge difference. The future of the planet is in our hands.