Using your Brainpower to Maximize your Energy

September 14, 2016

It’s that time of year again - time to get all your books lined up, check your schedules, and start prepping for the back to school routine. Whether you are sending your kids off to school, preparing your college student for their new digs, or going back to school yourself, we know you have a lot on your mind. Luckily, we’ve prepared some energy savings tips to help get you prepared for the upcoming school year.

Save in the kitchen.

Selecting ENERGY STAR® approved kitchen appliances is an easy way to ensure you’re using the most energy efficient appliances. Look for ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. If it is time for you to replace any of your old appliances, be sure to take advantage of our rebates available to you. For students moving into dorm rooms – be wary of compact refrigerators. While they don’t take up much space, they do tend to use quite a lot of energy.

As you cook, there are many small adjustments you can make to your routine to save energy, such as using the microwave instead of your oven or stove, as this can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80%. Make sure you use the correct size pot and pans, and use covers that fit tightly over them to shorten cooking time and reduce energy waste. When cleaning up, instead of hand washing dishes, using a dishwasher can actually reduce the amount of hot water and energy used. A new ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year! Always run the dishwasher with a full load and switch the heated dry cycle off, if your appliance offers this feature, to save on electricity as well.

Switch bulbs.

Switching your light bulbs to ENERGY STAR certified light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is an easy way to save energy and reduce your electric bill. We know light fixtures get more usage when homework makes a comeback, so now is the perfect time to switch. These energy saving bulbs use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 25 times longer, allowing you to save substantial money in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

Mind your electronics.

Going back to school means some of your electronics, like computers and printers, are going to be working on overdrive, while others, like TVs and gaming systems, are going to get a break. Make sure you use energy saving advanced power strips, which turn off all peripheral devices (like gaming devices, DVD players, and sound systems) when a master device like a television or computer is powered off. Look for electronics that are specifically ENERGY STAR certified. This is especially important as you stock up on school or college dorm supplies. These days there are low energy models for nearly every electronic or appliance. ENERGY STAR certified computers are something to consider when a new computer is needed. However, just activating power management features on your existing computer can help save you $10-100 per computer in electricity costs annually. Check out tips and instructions to enable these settings on the ENERGY STAR® website.

Let’s get this school year started off right. Gather the family and let them know what steps they can add to their routine to help save energy together. Invite them to join in on the action and explain the impact they can make with just a few small changes. Feel free to take advantage of our Resources for Teachers learning materials, including activities that combine math and science with energy awareness to help kids and families understand basic concepts and long-term effects of energy efficiency.

For more ways to save, check out our Back-to-School Savings page for additional tips on ways to start saving this school year.

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