Conserve While at Home

Spending more time at home will increase your energy and water use. When at home, you have more flexibility to shift energy use, such as laundry and running the dishwasher to off-peak hours. Beginning April 1, peak hours for electric customers change to afternoons, 3 pm-7 pm weekdays. Energy used the other 20 hours of the weekday, weekends and PWC holidays are billed off-peak. Energy used in April will billed in May when off-peak rates will even less.  Beginning May 1, off-peak rates for residential and small power customers will be 35% less than on-peak.

Temperatures are typically mild in the spring but heating and cooling still make the highest impact on your bill.  Change your air filter to be sure your HVAC system is running efficiently. Have your system serviced before the hot summer months and support local HVAC companies.

Restrict access to your thermostat by your children so that you can control any changes in its settings. Minimize the use of electronic games, television, streaming services and computers during on-peak hours. Charge your smart phones during off-peak hours.

Turn off lights in rooms when they are unoccupied and replace incandescent lights with LED lights which use % less energy.  Be sure to apply for PWC bill credit for the LEDs you replace. Cook outside on the grill  — grilling doesn’t use electricity and limiting oven use will keep homes cooler.

Take the extra time at home to find and fix water leaks. The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
Check your water heater temperature and set it to 120 degrees. Use these tips to limit the amount of hot water use which will help you save on both your energy and water bill. 

  • Wash full loads of laundry and dishes whenever possible and switch the temperature setting for laundry from hot to cold.  About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes and dishes is used to heat the water.
  • Shorten your shower time. Even one minute less will make a positive impact on your bill.  If you have an electric water heater, minimize showers during on-peak hours.
  • Turn off water while washing hands, brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Have a picnic with disposable plates and utensils and reduce the need to wash dishes.

Ways to Make Your Home Office Energy Efficient

Summary: Working from home doesn’t have to impact your energy bill. Follow these tips to make your home office more efficient.

Working from home, even on a temporary basis, may increase your energy use. It means that you’re spending more time using a computer, lights and other appliances at home instead of in your workplace. But by improving the energy efficiency of your home office equipment, you can save on energy costs without hampering your productivity.

  1. Make sure computers and other office equipment are turned off when they’re not in use for an extended period.
  2. Many electronic devices continue to use standby power even after they’re turned off. Connect your office equipment to an advanced power strip, which will automatically shut off power to unused devices.
  3. Set office equipment, such as printers and scanners, to automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use. In addition to saving energy, the equipment will stay cooler, which will help to extend its useful life.
  4. Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop. Laptops use less than one-third the energy of a typical desktop computer.
  5. Adjust the thermostat to the unoccupied setting. This avoids wasting energy by conditioning the entire house while you’re occupying only a small portion of it. Consider using a ceiling fan to maintain comfort. You can reverse its direction to clockwise in winter, which pushes warm air down.
  6. Use task lighting with energy-efficient lamps. A desk lamp uses less energy than whole-room lighting.

Restaurants: Menu for Energy Savings During Downtime

Summary: Temporarily closed or offering limited service? Follow this recipe to save energy and money during your downtime.

Is your business temporarily closed or offering limited service? It can be a difficult time, but you can make the most of it by finding ways to save energy and money, and improve your operations, during the downtime. Here’s some food for thought.

Take comfort

You can waste a lot of energy keeping empty spaces comfortable. Raise or lower the thermostat (depending on outdoor conditions) to minimize HVAC energy use. Consider installing smart programmable thermostats, which come with advanced features, such as remote control.

Cool off refrigeration

Refrigeration is a big energy expense for food service facilities. Consolidate food from multiple walk-in coolers or freezers into one unit. This allows you to shut off power to the empty units, significantly reducing your energy consumption.

Clean cooking equipment

Carbon and grease buildup makes cooking equipment work harder, consuming more energy. Although cleaning equipment is a daily task, now is the time to take a deep dive, thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing all the equipment in your entire kitchen. You’ll save energy and create a healthier and more comfortable workspace for your kitchen staff.

Put out the flames

Pilot lights on idle cooking appliances and water heating equipment will continue to burn and use natural gas. Save energy by turning off pilot lights on any equipment that will be out of use for an extended period of time.

Limit lighting

Turn off all lights in unoccupied spaces, except necessary security lighting. Install timers on security lights, and light sensors on outdoor lighting, so they operate only when needed. Turn off selected parking lot lighting while maintaining security.

Focus on maintenance

Take the opportunity to perform maintenance on equipment around your facility to ensure efficient operation. For example, fix any water leaks and make sure refrigeration door gaskets are sealed correctly. Hire a qualified technician to clean and inspect your HVAC system.

With these measures, you’ll not only reduce your operating costs, but you’ll be better prepared to operate efficiently when your customers return.