People are spending more time at home during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, and using more energy. Most of us are concerned about larger energy bills–especially when hot weather hits and we need to turn on the AC. While in-home energy audits and large weatherization projects are paused in many states due to social distancing, we still have a variety of ways to save energy and money during the coronavirus pandemic.
Make Behavioral Changes
Staying at home requires a lot of changes including adapting your energy behavior to your new routine. Small changes like adjusting thermostat settings, turning off lights, and using energy at different times can have a big impact on energy bills. These tips are frequently available on customer portals, utility websites, home energy reports, utility emails, alerts, and even a simple web search.
Book a Virtual Energy Efficiency Home Audit
In some states, you don’t have to wait until the stay-at-home orders are lifted to get a home energy assessment. Utilities such as Eversource are piloting contractor audits by phone. In these free assessments, contractors conduct interviews and ask the same set of questions as they would in-person. You can show contractors your home via video or send photos to help contractors give you the best energy efficiency recommendations.
Get an Energy Efficiency Kit
Many utilities are offering energy efficiency kits with items you can install yourself to make your home more energy efficient–some are even free! These kits might include LED light bulbs, smart power strips, faucet aerators, and/or programmable/smart thermostats.
Check Out Your Utility’s Marketplace
For items not available in a utility’s energy efficiency kit, consider checking out your utility’s online Marketplace. For example, you may need additional power strips with more devices on in your home. Your utility may sell advanced power strips that can help control plug load and other items to help you save energy (some even with rebates!)
Enroll in a Demand Response Program
Any easy way to save energy and money is to enroll in your utility’s demand response program. In these programs, you take your utility’s lead to conserve energy during high-demand times on certain days. Through your smart thermostat, a utility could precool your home to lower energy usage during peak times–all while ensuring your home is comfortable for your family. Many utilities even offer free or reduced cost thermostats with rebates!
Sign up for Future Energy Efficiency Work
As you spend more time in your home, you might be thinking of ways you can improve it. It’s important to remember that the current situation is temporary and it will be safe for contractors to continue working in homes again. One way to ensure that contractors have work to come back to is to sign up for a future project. Some utilities are making this worth the wait. For example, Mass Save® is offering an enhanced 100% incentive on future installation work.
During this challenging time, it’s more important than ever to save money and energy. Each little action can collectively yield big results for your energy bill, and create lasting habits around energy efficiency for years to come!