Energy Efficiency Day
Submitted by Michael Pellessier
Mayor Robert Conley and the Borough Council proclaimed October 7, 2020, as Energy Efficiency Day in Madison. They joined a national movement of governments and universities encouraging residents to take local action with money-saving, energy-efficient upgrades.
“Madison is a leader in encouraging energy reduction,” said Mayor Robert H. Conley in issuing the Energy Efficiency Day Proclamation at a recent Borough Council meeting. “Since 2017, we have offered $49 discounted home energy audits with Ciel Power. To date, more than 200 homeowners in Madison have participated in the program and nearly 40 households have installed energy-saving improvements that will lower household energy consumption by up to 30%,” continued Conley.
The Madison Home Energy Assessment program gained national recognition in a 2018 New York Times piece. Featured in the cover story of the Real Estate section, the piece included an interview with Madison resident Peter Teshima and highlighted Madison’s ongoing home energy audit program.
Ann Huber, of the Madison Environmental Commission, notes that energy efficiency upgrades can be as simple as switching to LED lighting. According toenergyefficiencyday.org, changing just five frequently- used bulbs can save $75 in annual energy costs.
Here are additional tips from EnergyEffiencyDay.org:
- Seal Leaks
On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. Little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window. Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.
- Maintain Your HVAC System
Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down airflow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool), costing you more money. Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.
- Turn the Electronics Off
That sounds easy, but too often we forget and leave electronics plugged in that are not in use.
Tip: Turn off unnecessary/idle lights, appliances, and electronics. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once. (Sometimes the simplest things are really effective!)
- Winter Tip: Invite the Sun In
It feels like the sun abandons us during the winter, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it during the shorter days. Tip: Open curtains/shade on your west-and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and save 2%-12%.
- Clean Clothing Efficiently
A washing machine spends 90% of its energy to heat water. Tip: Modern detergents are formulated for cold water use, so there’s no performance downside to giving up hot water. Try to run full loads as much as possible—a machine uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of the load size. Also, consider air-drying.
Madison residents can sign up for a discounted $49 home energy audit, go to cielpower.com/Madison. An audit with a New Jersey Clean Energy-certified contractor makes your home eligible for rebates and loans for your retrofit costs.
About Energy Efficiency Day:
According to energyefficiencyday.org, the message of Energy Efficiency Day is to “Save Money, Cut Pollution, and Create Jobs… Our goal is to share tips, tools, and stories that promote the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, from lower costs to healthier homes. Energy efficiency is the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut consumer bills and reduce pollution.” Energy Efficiency Day is a collaborative effort of dozens of energy efficiency advocacy groups around the United States, including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Alliance to Save Energy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.