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National Cut Your Energy Costs Day: 10 January 2014

If every American home replaced just one incandescent bulb with an Energy Star CFL, enough energy would be saved to light 3 million homes for a year.

The New Year is a time to reflect on wanted or needed changes for the coming year. This year, resolve to reduce energy consumption. Most experts believe the Earth is showing real signs of climate change. These changes impact animal population, food and water supplies, and health and basic human needs. More than one million species of animals face extinction by 2050 due to climate change.

Cut Your Energy Costs Day, on 10 January 2014, is all about using less electricity and helping the environment. Simple changes like turning off lights when leaving a room or replacing regular incandescent bulbs and fixtures with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) can cut lighting costs. CFLs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs and last for approximately 10,000 hours compared to 750. If every American home swapped just five incandescent bulb fixtures for Energy Star CFLs, $6.5 billion in energy costs would be saved and 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases, a contributor to global warming, would be kept out of the air.

Another way to cut energy costs is keeping the thermostat low while away from home or sleeping. Installing Energy Star-certified ceiling fans or switching to a natural-gas water heater can also cut heating and cooling costs. If one household in 10 used Energy Star-rated heating and cooling equipment, the change in greenhouse-gas emissions would be equivalent to taking 1.5 million cars off the road.

Remember to unplug or turn off the computer when it is not in use or use the power-saving sleep mode, which uses 60 to 80 percent less energy than full-power mode. Using power management on a desktop computer could save 900-kilowatt hours a year, amounting to 1,500 pounds of carbon monoxide emissions. When not in use, unplug “wall warts,” the chunky black wall chargers for items like cell phones and other electronics. These use electricity when plugged into an outlet whether they are charging another device or not.

Finally, cut appliance energy costs by replacing old appliances like refrigerators and top-loading washing machines. A refrigerator made before 1993 could cost $140 a year in electricity compared to a new Energy Star-rated model that runs on approximately $20 worth of electricity. A front-loading washing machine generally uses 50 percent less energy and a third less water than a top-loading washing machine, saving enough energy to light an entire home for a month and a half and as much water in a year as the average person drinks in a lifetime.

By implementing just a few small changes in conserving energy, you can make a difference for the environment and your wallet.