POSTED: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 1:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — This winter, Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden challenged residents and businesses of East Baton Rouge Parish to “Start It, Save It, and Own It” when he kicked off Baton Rouge’s energy efficiency outreach program, ConserveBR. With the hot days of summer well upon us, Mayor Holden encourages individuals across Baton Rouge to take simple steps to stay cool while reducing their energy consumption this season.
“High temperatures are the norm for Baton Rouge during the summer months, but there are quite a few ways for residents and businesses to beat the heat and conserve energy simultaneously,” Mayor Holden said. “I encourage all residents, business owners, and City-Parish employees to adopt some, if not all, of the following energy-saving measures and make small changes to how you use energy this summer.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs. In this spirit, Mayor Holden and the ConserveBR team outlined a few ways citizens can reduce the amount of energy they use with the launch of “Kip’s Tips”.
”Kip’s Tips” are designed to help inform residents as well as businesses about energy efficiency and help them manage their energy consumption and costs during the hottest months of the year.
• Maintain your cooling system. Change your air filters monthly, clear any debris around the outside unit to maximize airflow and efficiency, ensure you have adequate refrigerant charge in your air conditioner system, and clean your unit’s evaporator coil. There are many “do-it-yourself” guides available for maintenance and upkeep of your air conditioner system, or you can always consult with a local professional to perform a full tune-up of your cooling system. If it’s time to replace your old unit, make sure your new one has earned an Energy Star label by researching before you buy at www.energystar.gov .
• Adjust your water heater. Decrease your water heater temperature to 120 degrees, and if you head out of town, turn it off entirely. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that lowering your water temperature in this manner can save up to 5 percent in energy costs.
• Seal leaky windows and doors. Weatherstripping is relatively inexpensive (about $1.50 per roll), easy to apply, and you can find the materials at most hardware stores. Another tip: make sure to close your windows and doors when the air conditioner is running.
• Use fans before lowering your thermostat. Rather than adjusting your thermostat or air conditioning unit, flip on the fan to save on cooling costs. Place ceiling fans in rooms where you spend the most time, with the fan’s blades rotating in the counterclockwise direction. The airflow produced creates a wind-chill effect, making the room temperature seem cooler.
• Set your thermostat higher. If you need to lower your thermostat, try setting it to 78 degrees when you are home and 80 degrees when you are away. And, if you haven’t already, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to automate your savings and reduce your energy costs by about $180 a year.
• Block the sun from overheating your home. Close windows, blinds, drapes, and curtains during the day to reduce unwanted heat caused by direct sunlight. Windows without shading can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder than it would with windows that have effective treatments and coverings.
With temperatures in Baton Rouge consistently approaching triple-digits, this summer is already shaping up to be another hot one. Remember to follow “Kip’s Tips” to keep cool and stay smart about saving this summer.
To learn more energy-saving tips you can apply throughout the year and find ways you can become involved in the ConserveBR movement, visit www.ConserveBR.com .