At the first hint of spring in the air, thoughts go to home improvements. But while it’s still too cold for outside projects, it’s a good time to take a hard look at your kitchen and bathrooms, areas of the home where you can save energy and cut costs simply and easily. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recommends the following:
In the Kitchen
• Purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator. They are 20 percent more efficient than standard models and come with more advanced features and settings.
• If your dishwasher was manufactured pre-1994, replace it with an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher and save up $100 annually.
• Be sure to unplug small kitchen appliances such as blenders, toasters and coffeemakers when not in use.
• Use microwaves and toaster ovens, which require less energy to operate than ovens.
In the Bathroom
• Install a high-efficiency showerhead, which can save up to $125 annually on your energy bill.
• Replace standard light bulbs with ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and save $10 yearly per bulb.
• Purchase an ENERGY STAR-qualified ventilation fan. These fans are quieter than standard models and protect against mold and mildew.
Use a BPI-accredited contractor for home improvement work to ensure quality. Only BPI-accredited contractors are eligible to participate in NYSERDA’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, which provides incentives to homeowners for certain energy efficiency retrofit work, including replacing old appliances with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR ones. For a list of BPI-accredited contractors near you, to go www.getenergysmart.org, click on Home Performance Contractors and choose your county on the map.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs in New York State. A public benefit corporation, NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.