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energy wise


ook around your home. More than likely there is a programmable thermostat on the wall, a plug strip on the floor and a light bulb in your lamp. These are three of the most common products you can use to reduce daily household energy costs. The trick is figuring out how to make them work for you.


L Programmable thermostats


Programmable thermostats can potentially save buyers up to $180 a year on heating and cooling costs, according to ENERGYSTAR.gov, but many consumers miss out on savings by failing to correctly install their new thermostats.


Enter smart thermostats, which are intended to be an easier-to-use alternative. They come with motion sensors that help do the work of detecting and setting the temperature in your home. Nest is one such brand of thermostats.


Sensors will turn the thermostat up or down, depending on the season. Within a few days of installing the device, the system will begin to learn your schedule, automatically dialing your thermostat back when you’re not home.


The addition of phone and iPad apps, are other smart thermostat features that help make temperature control easy.


So, what about energy savings? Remember, that a thermostat will only save you money if you allow it to program.


Residential interior lighting


January 2014 marked the end of the traditional light bulbs due to a federal provision to phase out and replace them with more energy efficient options. Currently, there are three consumer choices—halogen-incandescents, CFLs and LEDs. You'll pay more up front for these bulbs, but the savings is worth it.


One thing to keep in mind when buying light bulbs is the brand you choose will matter. Lighting experts recommend sticking with brands you know and trust such as GE or Sylvania.


If you’ve been light shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed that smart devices have even come to the light bulb aisle. Manufactures like LG, more known for their appliances, and light bulb giant Philips turn out LEDs that can be controlled by your cell phone and change colors to suit your mood.


Added features like these can make turning on the lights an experience. And over time, energy savings will add up. With new light bulb standards in place, the Department of Energy estimates that consumers will save between $6 billion and $10 billion a year in lights costs.


Did you know that an un-programmed thermostat can waste at least 20 percent of your heating and cooling bill? This smart thermostat from Nest is among a new generation that does the programming for you.


A lesser-known brand is Cree lighting products. A 60-watt (800 lumens) Cree replacement bulb can cost about $10 at a big box store and is guaranteed to last at least a decade or more. Be sure to read the facts on the back of the bulb box. It will come in handy when you want to narrow your lighting choice by temperature and color, which has nothing to do with the wattage. It means whether you want your bulbs to have a warm or cool tone when lit or have the look of “daylight” or “soft white.”


Make Energy


Saving Easy! How to use smart devices to rack up home energy savings


With many new programmable thermostats, you don’t have to be at home to change the temperature. Apps like this one from Nest let you connect to your thermostat from a smartphone.


Power strips


Traditional power strips work hard to affordably expand the number of electrical outlets in your home. Unfortunately, their


convenience can encourage you to leave electronics plugged in all the time. Many devices keep drawing power even when you're not using them. This power drain wastes electricity and can be costly.


Smart power strips can help. They’re bigger, color coded and designed to reduce usage by shutting down power to products that go into standby mode.


Most feature three outlet colors, each with a unique task. The blue outlet serves as a control plug, and is ideal for a heavily used device like a TV or computer. Anything plugged into red outlets stays on— electricity to these receptacles never cuts off― making them perfect for satellite boxes or other appliances that need constant power.


The remaining outlets, generally neutral or green in color, are sensitive to current flowing through the blue outlet, so turning off the TV or computer cuts power to them as well. With added occupancy sensors and timers, some smart power strips can be even more efficient. Costing about $20, these products can determine when to cut power to various devices, and you should see a payback within a year.


Energy savings at home can be easy with the help of smart power strips, thermostats and residential lighting— and a little savvy shopping.


Kiamichi Electric offers several programs to help members save energy, including free home energy audits. To visit with your co-op about how you lower your energy costs, please visit www.kiamichielectric. org, or call 800-888-2731.■


Light Post | july - august 2014 | 5


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