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Archive for Sunday, May 20, 2001

Personal plans can help consumers save energy

May 20, 2001

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— There are lots of ways people can save energy. Here are some of them:

Up to one-third of home energy can be wasted through drafty windows, said Albert Thuman, executive director of the Association of Energy Engineers. Adding new or better weatherstripping, storm windows or new energy-conserving windows will lower most home energy bills substantially, he said. New windows, however, can be expensive to buy.

Installing a water heater blanket can shave 4 to 9 percent off the cost of operating a water heater, according to Home Depot, the home supply chain. Lowering the water's temperature helps, too. Each 10-degree drop cuts water bills 3 to 5 percent. But don't go below 120 degrees if your dishwasher has a separate heating element, or 135 degrees if it doesn't.

Computer equipment is the fastest-growing consumer of household electricity. It's wasteful if left on when not in use. Activating the "sleep" mechanism on computers, faxes and printers would save an average of $70 a year on electricity bills, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. "In four years, one fluorescent bulb can save up to $40 in energy costs," over a comparable incandescent bulb, said Ron Hazelton, a home improvement expert with Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.

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