Making resolutions for the New Year is pretty common. Perhaps this year you can make some resolutions that can save energy.  Here are a few ideas.

Complete your switch to LEDs (light-emitting diodes). These can save 90% of power versus old incandescent bulbs and can last fifteen times longer. LEDs will cost more at first but over their lifetime they can save $80 or more in energy. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo when you buy them. Your utility may have special offers for bulbs.

Examine your electric bill. Electricity costs can be one of the big expenses in a household. Take a look the entire year, not just a couple months. “According to statistics, the average family’s use of electricity is increasing at a rate of 4 to 7 percent per year. For that reason, it seems reasonable that if we become more aware of how we use these kilowatt-hours, we can learn how to use them more efficiently.” That is according to NC’s Blue Ridge Energy.  Some homeowners can cut their power bill using the next resolution…

Get a home energy audit. During an in-home energy audit, a trained expert assesses how much energy your home uses and then suggests measures to improve the energy efficiency and safety of your home. Generally, the auditor will analyze your utility bills, use diagnostic equipment to check your home for efficiency, safety, and performance, discuss your specific concerns, and offer practical solutions to help you save energy and money. (Source) Here’s a good article about audits in SC Living from the SC electric coops.

Install a programmable thermostat. Your home might save up to 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs. “Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.” (Source)

Check your water heater. They account for almost 17% of household energy use, consuming more energy than all other home appliances put together. Hints: Reduce time in showers to around five minutes. Try a low-flow shower head. Adjust the temperature setting on your water heater. Turning down the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees saves energy. (Source)