Wise Ideas from NYSERDA

logoNew York State is one of the nation’s most energy-aware states. Take for example the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. This public benefit corporation gives to the public not only information and analysis of the most pressing energy issues of the day, but also offers innovative programs, technical advice, funding, and lots more, to help citizens be as aware and energy-savvy as possible.

The NYSERDA has been in service of the people since 1975, creating and promoting solutions to protect the environment, save money, create clean energy jobs, and much more.

Here is a small sample of some of the programs NYSERDA offers to the public sector.

Home energy efficiency programs– NYSERDA assesses home energy usage using contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute. Home owners receive a list of recommendations for ways to improve energy efficiency, including improved insulation, efficient lighting, better heating systems, and more.

Energy Star Certified Products– A product is eligible for an Energy Star endorsement when it meets or goes beyond the federal standards for energy efficiency, with no loss of product quality or performance. The Department of Energy determines these guidelines. Always look for the Energy Star when buying new appliances.

EmPower New York– This program helps those who are eligible base on income, to upgrade their living spaces to more energy efficient dwellings, but without having to spend any of their own resources to do it. After the home or apartment is transformed into a more energy efficient abode, EmPower New York will send workers to provide tips and strategies on how to further manage energy usage every day.

IDT Energy is a New York based company helping consumers use energy wisely, and save money, too.

New York Puts Their Money Where the Energy Savings Is

logoThe Energy $mart New Construction Program in New York was launched in order to encourage buildings to incorporate energy efficient and renewable energy resources into construction and operation. A large variety of entities are eligible to become part of the program, including government facilities, non-profit organizations, health-care facilities, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities.

The NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is behind the program, which also allows agricultural, commercial, industrial/manufacturing, institutional and multi-family buildings over 5 units to participate.

The sum of $91 million has been allotted to conduct technical assessments of how efficient energy use can be utilized in a particular building’s design and structure. The money will also be used to compensate for the extra capital expenses required to purchase and install energy efficient equipment and devices, up to 75 percent.

There is also money available from the program for technical assistance, whole-building design, LEED projects and commissioning services. The program began on January 4, 2012, and will continue funding on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2015.

IDT Energy Offers Some Energy Saving Tips from the DOE

Programmable thermostats can help save energy

Programmable thermostats can help save energy

The US Department of Energy has a wonderful, concise booklet to help consumers save on their energy bill throughout the year. Saving energy is not only good for the individuals and families by helping them save money, it is also beneficial to the country as a whole. As the DOE puts it,

“Saving energy reduces our nation’s overall demand for resources needed to make energy, and increasing your energy efficiency is like adding another clean energy source to our electric power grid.”

Here are just a small number of suggestions to help people save on their electric bill, which IDT Energy supports:

  • Have a programmable thermostat installed to run heating and cooling systems more efficiently.
  • Don’t use your dishwasher’s drying cycle; just let the air dry off your clean dishes.
  • Remember to turn off appliances when not in use
  • Even better, unplug your appliances when not in use to save on “ghost” electric usage. You can have a number of appliance all plugged into a power strip which can be turned off, making this task easier.
  • Lowering the thermostat on your hot water heater down to 120°F keeps your water hot enough, but can save lots of energy.

The DOE has lots more tips and suggestions for saving energy. It’s good for you and its good for our community.

Your Attic and Energy Efficiency

Air leaks can often be traced to your attic- resulting in a house that’s too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter. The Residential Energy Services Network offers several tips for insulating your attic:

  • Seal holes or gaps around chimneys or furnace flues to prevent air leaks.
  • Use metal flashing for larger gaps and high temperature caulk for smaller ones.
  • Identify and seal all air leaks before adding additional insulation.
  • Seal small gaps around plumbing stacks and electrical wiring.
  • Use caulk for small gaps and spray foam for gaps up to 3 inches in diameter.
  • Use a combination of foam board and foam spray for gaps larger than 3 inches in diameter.
  • Use weatherizing materials or a pre-made attic cover to insulate your attic hatch or door.
  • Make sure attic soffit and gable vents aren’t blocked to ensure free airflow.

Top Summer Energy Saving Tips from Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee Utility Services recently offered summer energy saving tips for every household. Here are the top ten:

  • Close shades, drapes and blinds during the day
  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Set the air conditioning  thermostat at 78 degrees or higher
  • Don’t choose a lower air conditioning temperature when you first turn it on
  • When weather is mild, use fans instead of the air conditioner
  • If you have ceiling fans, run the fans and the air conditioner at the same time
  • Use a microwave instead of the range/oven
  • Keep windows and doors closed while air conditioning
  • Change the air conditioner’s air filter monthly during heavy use
  • Arrange items in your refrigerator for quick removal and return


Preparing for Winter Energy Use

Winter is not yet upon us, but as the season changes the temperatures drop, and the quick transition often has people running for the heaters. Energy use in the winter is especially high, and so it is wise to prepare for the season in advance. With proper planning and preparation, bills can be lowered even before they go up. Many energy providers, like IDT Energy, offer advice and even home visits to help develop new energy-saving plans.

OrganicAuthority.com offers 5 useful tips to prepare for winter months:

  • Place wooden shelves above your radiators and heaters. Shelving above a radiator forces hot air to circulate out and into the room, rather than shooting straight up to the ceiling and being lost. You’re trying not to start a fire here, so give it at least a foot of space in between.
  • Add wooden shutters. Wooden shutters help to insulate, so replace old blinds with them or add them to your kitchen and bedroom windows. They also add a natural elegance to any space.
  • Fit your radiator valves… By fitting radiator valves in your house or apartment, you can help regulate the temperature differently with each room…
  • Ditch the electric blanket. While they help you feel cozy, they’re terrible wasters of energy and energy dollars, so bundle up with an organic cotton blanket and a pair of warm, insulated slippers instead.
  • Invest in (or make) a few heating rice packs. They may not keep you warm through and through come January, but they’re perfect for chilly fall nights. These rice-and-grain-filled sacks can be heated in a microwave (if you haven’t ditched it yet!) or placed on a radiator for a few minutes until warmed…

New Year – New Energy Bills

Everyone, everywhere needs to do their bit for energy conservation.  And, by following some simple rules, this can be very easy to implement.  With whatever energy service provider you are using – IDT Energy, or any of the other big ones – conserving energy saves big bucks on bills. Now that we are well into the winter months, it is a good idea to really start making some changes.

First, get your home and office a programmable thermostat that can significantly reduce heating costs – in some cases up to 10 percent.  When in the premises, it should be set at 20 C, but when sleeping our out of the house, this can be reduced to 18 C.

A seemingly obvious piece of advice (but one that is all-too-often missed) is to ensure your property is well insulated and protected against drafts.  One easy way of doing this is to put in weatherstrip around doors, attic openings and air conditioning units.  This can lead to a saving on around 30 percent of heating costs.  As well, if the filter in the furnace is replaced every month and serviced professionally annually to ensure maximum running capacity, substantial energy savings will be made.

To save money on energy, if you use it during off-peak (i.e. cheaper) hours you could save money. If you are wondering how to do that without it impacting your life, think about the different times you can run your washer, dryer and dishwasher (it makes no difference to you if it’s on in the middle of the night, except for the financial savings you will enjoy).

Saving Energy as the Fall Arrives

In the heat of the summer, it’s hard to believe the weather is ever going to cool down. But, indeed, it will, and it will be time to start to budget for those colder months. There are many ways to save costs on the fall energy bills, whether you use IDT Energy or another energy supplier. Here are some tips that should help you to think about those colder months.

  1. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower when you are home, and put it even lower when you’re out or in bed.  Believe it or not, for every degree that you lower your thermostat, you’ll be saving 2% off of your heating bill.
  2. Weatherize your home before the cold weather hits. Caulk and weather-strip all the doors and windows. Make sure your windows have locks on them as well, to make them tighter and more draft resistant.
  3. Insulate your attic, or increase the insulation you already have.  Do this for the basement and outside walls as well.

Conserving Hot Water: IDT Energy

Hot water is a must-have, especially during the winter season. Everyone dreads the moment that they run out of hot water for the shower and even just for doing the dishes. Here are some great tips for conserving hot water in your home:

• Take quick showers instead of hot baths, and turn the water off when it is not in use (for example, while applying shampoo).
• Install low-flow shower and faucet heads throughout your home, and attach aerators as well.
• Use cold water for most household cleaning, like mopping the floor.
• Only run full loads in the dishwasher.

There are many other things you can do around the house to conserve hot water and energy, and by doing so, you can lower your energy bill significantly. You may want to contact your electric company like IDT Energy, as they can give your personalized advice, and may even offer a home visit.

Saving Energy: A Family Effort

Many people are aware of the fact that they can save money by cutting back on energy use. The problem usually is that they are not aware of how. The internet is a great source of knowledge, and information and tips can easily be found using Google or another search engine. For personalized advice, you may want to contact your electric company, like IDT Energy.

Once you’ve learned about the various ways to conserve energy in your house, have a family meeting and explain the proper use of appliances to your children. Make sure they understand why they should make an effort- give them real examples of costs, and show them how simple it is to be a little more responsible. Once everyone understands, you will surely see a change in the monthly bill!