Coping with High Energy Costs

[singlepic id=574 w=200 h=200 float=right]West Side UMC hosted Dennis Buffington from Penn State Cooperative Extension on January 26. His presentation was entitled “Coping with High Energy Costs.” Following are some highlights from his presentation.

Don’t overlook the simple things. Remember to open your blinds during the day and close at sunset.

You can save up to 20% by turning back the thermostat at night. As a general rule, for each degree the thermostat is turned back, you save 2%. Programmable thermostats make this easy. Once $300, they now run between $60-75.

Incandescent vs. Compact Florescent Lightbulbs: Remember that watts does not equal how much light, only how much energy the bulb uses. Lumens indicates the amount of light. An incandescent bulb produces more heat than light. A florescent uses approximately four times less energy and lasts ten times longer. Check with your local recycle center regarding disposal of florescent bulbs, as they contain some mercury.

Insulation: If there is light around the door, weather strip. If the windows rattle, there’s energy loss.

Look for the Energy Star rating when buying new products. Energy efficient products will have an arrow near the left of the spectrum and will have the Energy Star logo. For more info, 1-888-STAR-YES or

Use the cheapest energy. This is harder than it sounds because not all products produce the same amount of heat per gallon. For instance, the same amount of propane produces 40% less heat than heating oil. Check out the online energy calculator for accurate comparisons.

Other information covered included how to figure the cost per kilowatt of electricity, (this information does not appear on your bill). Also, the cost of electricity is expected to rise sharply when electricity rate caps expire December 31, 2010.

Check out for more information.

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