Each year we mark Energy Efficiency Day in early October and are reminded of the importance of using energy wisely. This year, Energy Efficiency Day takes on new importance in Fairfax County as the community has recently established an ambitious but achievable carbon neutrality goal.
Reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 will only be possible if everyone in Fairfax County, residents, workers, and visitors alike, does their part to cut down on greenhouse gases. Energy efficiency measures can help us move the needle by cutting down on the amount of energy we use to heat and cool our homes and businesses, run appliances, lighting, and electronics, and enjoy shared amenities like neighborhood parks and pools.
Apart from contributing to our overarching greenhouse gas reduction goal, taking action to be more energy efficient is good for your personal bottom line. By making smart choices about energy use at home, you can reduce your monthly utility bill. On that positive note, here are our top five energy efficiency recommendations for 2021:
1. LEDs all the way. It’s a very easy, common-sense step to replace your older, less efficient light bulbs with more efficient, longer-lasting versions. You could save up to $75.00 per year just by switching five of your lightbulbs to LEDs.
2. Eliminate air leaks. If you had a soccer ball sized hole in a wall of your home you would do something about it, right? By not properly sealing air leaks around your exterior doors and windows, you could be losing heated or cooled air that you are paying for and it adds up quickly.
3. HVAC smarter. Does your AC run even when you’re not home? Are you heating your house to 75 degrees while you’re sleeping? Think about your schedule and make adjustments to your thermostat so that you’re not heating and cooling unnecessarily. Even one or two degrees up or down can make a major difference.
4. Embrace natural lighting and heating. Open your blinds and curtains in the fall and winter months, especially on south- and west-facing walls, to allow natural light to enter and the sun’s warmth to provide your home with a natural heat boost.
5. Use appliances wisely. Run your dishwasher only when it's full, and avoid the "rinse/hold" cycle. When you wash your clothes, use the “cold” option. And if you’re looking to purchase a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR label.