About Virginia Energy Sense
Virginia Energy Sense is the Commonwealth’s statewide consumer education and outreach program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission. It was created by the General Assembly to help Virginia residents understand how to save energy at home, work and school in support of the state’s goal to reduce energy consumption by 10%. Saving energy just makes good sense and Virginia Energy Sense encourages all Virginians to “value your power.” The program provides tools and information to help consumers understand their energy bill and take action to reduce it. Visit them at www.virginiaenergysense.org or follow on Twitter (Twitter.com/@VAEnergySense), Facebook (Facebook.com/
VirginiaEnergySense), and Tumblr (VirginiaEnergySense.tumblr. com).
They have created educational materials for children in grades 3-5. Energy themed science and math lessons in fold-out poster size: http://www.
Representatives will also be in the greater Richmond area at the Powhatan County Fair on May 18 and Ashland Strawberry Fair on June 8, where they will have the posters, plus temporary Energy Monster tattoos, chalk and stickers available for kids.
Virginia Energy Sense also is inviting residents to submit their own energy-efficient homes for consideration in the program’s Showcase, a feature of energy-efficient homes across the state.
The program has compiled a list of Top 10 inexpensive energy-saving gadgets - all available in hardware stores.
Top 10 Energy Efficiency Gadgets to Help You Save Money
Whether you’re new to becoming more energy efficient, or are an expert always looking for more you can do to save, these low-cost tools can help make saving a breeze. Each of these devices can be found at your local or online hardware or electronics retailer. Most cost only a few bucks and all can be found for less than $75, so pick up the ones that work for you to start saving today! For more energy-saving tips, visit www.virginiaenergysense.org
1) Electricity Usage Monitors
To save energy, first arm yourself with information! Plug the monitor into the wall and enter the price per kilowatt-hour for your area. Next, plug any device into the monitor and use it as normal for a few days. Check back later and the monitor will tell you how much it costs to run the device per month, including how much energy is wasted to vampire load. After a few weeks, you’ll have a good understanding of your biggest expenses, meaning you know where to target your savings.
2) Smart Power Strips
On average, 10% of the cost to power our electronics is wasted to vampire load, the energy used when devices aren’t even in use. Smart power strips have special settings that maintain continual power to critical devices while cutting electricity to others when they are not in use. Even traditional power strips are handy for powering off several unused devices with one flip of the switch.
3) Air Filter Whistles
You should regularly replace the air filters on your heating and cooling unit—as frequently as every month during the summer and winter when you use the system the most. Air filter whistles make it easy to remember. Simply attach the whistle to your filter and it will automatically “sing” when it’s clogged, reminding you to make the swap.
4) Electrical Outlet Gaskets
The average household spends nearly half of its electric bill on heating and cooling, but you could be wasting money from gaps, cracks and other air leaks in your home. A simple way to start reducing some of this air loss is to install foam gaskets behind your light switch and AC outlet faceplates. The gaskets only cost a few bucks, and you can seal up all your outlets with nothing more than a screwdriver.
5) Insulated Letterbox Flap
Speaking of gaps in your home, mail slots in doors are notoriously drafty and lead to major heating and cooling loss. If you don’t want to replace your entire mail slot, find models that now attach to the inside of the door and are invisible from the outside. They cut down on drafts while still allowing mail to be pushed through.
6) Wireless Outlet Controls
Do you always forget to turn off the lights? Maybe you forget to turn off a fan or space heater? If so, pick up a wireless outlet controller to give yourself a backup. These devices enable you to control any electronic device remotely on your computer or with an app on your smartphone. Simply plug the controller tool into the wall, and then plug any appliance or device into the controller to instantly given you the power to save on-the-go.
7) Device Charging Stations
How many gadgets do you have lying around your home? Are chargers for your phones, mp3 players, and tablets strewn about your room and staying plugged in to the wall even when not in use? Why not consolidate them into a single charging station. Both USB and AC models are available, and stations enable you to charge multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the amount of energy consumed per device. They also sense when devices are fully charged, automatically shutting off to reduce vampire load.
8) Radiator Insulation Panels
Also called radiator reflector panels, these thin metal sheets slide between your wall and radiator, and reflect the heat off the wall and back into the room. By circulating the air and reducing the heat wasted into the wall, your heater doesn’t have to work as hard. These simple devices can cut up to 30% off your heating bill.
9) Water Tank Jackets
Heating water takes a lot of energy, so any way you can save in this area is sure to lead to big savings. Wrap your water tank with a jacket to improve insulation by as much as 75%. Keeping the water hot lets your water heater take more frequent breaks, saving you money.
10) Efficient Showerheads
Speaking of hot water, pick up one of these nifty showerheads that reduce the water wasted while you wait for your shower to heat up. The showerhead has a built-in thermometer and runs normally when you first turn it on and the water is still cold. Once the water’s hot, the showerhead automatically cuts the flow to a trickle. The change in sound will signal your shower’s ready and reduce wasted water before you hop in. A simple pull of a lever will return the flow to normal. Pick up one of these to help you conserve electricity and water.