Gary Smith runs the tenant education program Whole Buildings at Solar One. It’s Gary’s job to help tenants learn about electricity and energy usage within their buildings and apartments, and how to save the bucks on their bills. We interviewed Gary to get his best bets for saving on your energy bills this summer.
Q: What are some new trends for tenants saving on energy bills this summer?
What most people are doing is conserving as much electricity as possible simply by turning things off when they are not being used. Things like lights, televisions, computers and their devices, AC’s, fans etc, are what most people are targeting. People are just being sure to flip the switch if it isn’t being used by anyone. I also hear tenants talking about getting out more during the day. By going to places that have AC – like the mall or the movies – people are able to just shut off their own air conditioners and other appliances which help to cut back on electrical use.
Q: If someone could do one thing, what would be the best thing to do?
Make sure your air conditioners are installed properly. That way you don’t have to turn them to lower temperatures to feel cool. If air conditioners are properly installed, with window insulation to keep hot air from entering through cracks, they work less to cool the space. Also close blinds or curtains in order to prevent the sun’s rays from worming into the space you are trying to cool. Heat doesn’t only travel on air; it also enters by way of sun light.
Q: What’s your favorite energy efficiency thing to do in your apartment?
I am big on turning things off that are not in use. It is estimated that about 6%-8% of all the electricity generated in the United States goes to waste. I make the connection between wasting electricity, wasting money, and harming the environment. By making sure to manage my appliances with power strips, I limit the amount of electricity I waste in my apartment.
Q: Where is a good place to get more ideas and info about lower energy bills?
Con Edison’s web site has a lot of great resources and information about how to save energy in the home. If you go to www.coned.com/energyefficiency and click on residential there is a wealth of information available for anyone wanting to learn. Also just Google search “how to save energy in my apartment” and you’ll find plenty of tips.