Temps are low and housing costs are high: 5 ways to save on your energy bill

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The temperature in Jackson Hole is hovering south of zero recently, which usually results in us cranking up the heat in our house. Since many of us in Jackson have electric baseboard heating, this can cause our energy bill to skyrocket. So what can you do to stay warm, but keep your bills low? We caught up with Phillip Cameron, executive director of Energy Conservation Works in Jackson, to get some tips. *1. Make Your Resident More Energy Efficient* "One of the easiest ways to lower your heating bill is making your home more efficient. Simple improvements in weatherization, insulation and behavior can really add up," said Cameron. "You wouldn't head out into a blizzard with no hat on and your jacket open, would you? No, that would be... cold. Then, why would you expect your house to stay warm without adequate attic insulation and weatherstripping on the doors?" Cameron suggests scheduling a home energy assessment with Lower Valley Energy to get an idea of where to start. *2. Only Heat When You Need It* "Heat your home when you need it! If you're heading out all day skiing, turn the thermostat back as you leave and you'll see the savings. You can save up to 1 percent on your heating for every degree you turn it back," he said. "Go digital and go programmable on your thermostats. This makes saving easy. Many digital thermostats can be programmed to 'set-back' automatically when you're gone or asleep -- keeping the house cooler and then warming it back up before you need it. You'll only know the difference from your heating bill. 'Smart' wi-fi thermostats can learn from your behavior over time and be controlled remotely and with very intricate and easy to change schedules. They're great to keep tabs on your home and make sure it's ready when you get home. These upgrades may qualify for cash rebates from Lower Valley Energy, too!" *3. Offset Heat Energy with LED Bulbs* "Another really easy way to save electricity year-round is to update your lighting to hyper efficient LED bulbs," Cameron said. "Featuring 'light emitting diodes,' these bulbs provide the exact same light quality using up to 85 percent less energy when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. They last up to 50 time longer than them as well. Energy Conservation Works and Lower Valley Energy have several ways to help you do this for free." *4. Don't Forget About Energy-Sucking Water* "You should also note that it takes a ton of energy to heat water! Update to an energy efficient shower head that reduces consumption by increasing water pressure," said Cameron. "From there you can also look at turning your hot water heather back a few degrees, and for future upgrades consider an on-demand hot water heater that only heats water when you need it. You can take shorter showers and also lessen use of hot water for laundry using cooler wash temps with the right detergents." *5. Beware of Vampire Electronics* "So many appliances that we plug in nowadays have 'vampire' loads that eat up energy all day even if not in use. Using a 'smart power strip' shuts these loads off when no one is in the room... a very easy step to take and one that we're looking at providing the community at little or no expense," Cameron said. #buckrail #news