Aulander, N.C. – During the winter, the drop in temperature can cause a household’s electricity use to increase as heating systems work harder to keep homes warm. In addition, with many people spending more time at home during the pandemic, energy use may increase more in comparison to previous years.
Helping its member-owners save energy and money is always a priority for Roanoke Electric Cooperative, but when it’s cold outside, energy awareness and efficiency become especially important.
“We know that energy use typically goes up during the coldest and hottest months of the year,” said Kirby Jordan, vice-president of member services, marketing and public relations for Roanoke Electric Cooperative. . “The good news is there are simple steps our members can take to help control their energy use and higher bills, and our co-op also offers a number of tools to make it easier to monitor and manage household energy patterns.”
Some quick and easy things co-op member-owners can do to help reduce the amount of energy they use this season include:
Embracing natural sunlight. On bright, sunny days, open your blinds and allow the natural heat from the sun’s rays to warm up your home. Be sure to close them at night and keep your windows sealed to lock cold air away.
Lowering your thermostat. Instead of maintaining higher temperatures indoors, opt for a consistent temperature – no higher than 68 degrees – to avoid overworking your heater. Extreme weather conditions cause HVAC systems to work harder, which leads to higher energy consumption and costs, so it’s more cost effective to layer on clothing like sweatshirts and socks instead of turning the thermostat up.
Saving hot water. If you’ve never adjusted your water heater, it is likely set to 140 degrees. By lowering it to 120 degrees, you can benefit from reduced energy use and cost savings. Other quick changes that make a big difference are investing in a low-flow shower head to cut back on hot water use, washing clothes in cold water, and running dishwashers and laundry machines with full loads, preferably at off-peak times such as mid-day, late evening and overnight.
Turning off lights and devices when not in use. Make sure to turn off lights, space heaters and other appliances when you are not using them. Consider installing a power strip that allows you to easily unplug devices that constantly use energy even when turned off, such as TVs and game systems.
Making simple switches. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs, and switch ceiling fans to run in a clockwise direction to help push warmer air down.
Staying on top of maintenance. Have your heating system serviced regularly to ensure optimal performance, and change air filters monthly to make sure your system is operating as efficiently as possible.
Investing in smart technology for your home. Smart devices, such as WiFi-connected thermostats and water heater controls, can help take the stress out of energy management. According to Energy.gov, you can save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling per year by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day in the winter and by setting it that much higher in the summer. This adjustment happens automatically with a smart device and can be programmed to occur when you’re away from home or asleep.
In addition to these tips, Roanoke Electric Cooperative offers tools and programs to help member-owners monitor and manage their energy use, including high energy use alerts. If you are interested in learning more about these energy savings programs please call us at 252-209-2236 or visit our smart energy savings page.
These programs are part of Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s commitment to building a brighter future for the people and the local communities it serves. In addition to ensuring the delivery of reliable, affordable and sustainable power, this vision emphasizes the importance of innovation and ongoing community support. With a long-term goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Roanoke Electric Cooperative is leveraging new and existing technologies to shape the future of the electric grid and better serve its members, both now and in the years to come.
About Roanoke Electric Cooperative:
Roanoke Electric Cooperative provides service to 14,500 members in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan counties. Chartered in 1938 to provide light and power to farms, the co-op today serves as an engine of economic development and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its member-owners throughout the diverse communities it serves. Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.