Energy Efficiency

Why is it important?

  • helps save money
  • helps the enviroment
  • less need to build power plants
  • takes the load off peak

By improving our energy efficiency, we reduce the size (and cost) of the renewable energy system needed to power our homes. Improving our energy efficiency is the first and most important step toward adopting renewable energy.

The more efficient use of energy throughout our state results in less money spent on energy by homeowners, schools, government agencies, businesses and industries.

Many electric utilities across the state have committed to increasing their use of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy to generate power. Santee Cooper announced in 2007 that it will strive to produce 40% of its electricity using non greenhouse gas emitting resources by 2020. Since the announcement in 2007 Santee Cooper has launched 23 programs designed to help save energy and protect the environment. For more on what Santee Cooper click here.

Although everyone in the state of South Carolina is committed to generating more of our electricity using renewable resources, that alone will not help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We must do a better job using less electricity by making our homes, workplaces and schools more energy efficient.

Energy Efficiency means using less energy to accomplish the same level of service. A good example of this would be replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Lights) or LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes).

A fun way to learn more about energy effciency can be found here www.energyville.com

Energy efficiency is the practice of using energy wisely. A good example of this would be turning off the lights in a room that is not being used.

Become an expert in saving energy and money at home and school, using these tips:

Save Energy at Home Anytime

Recycle used motor oil
Take it to a GOFER Oil recovery site and they’ll turn it into electricity.

Replace outdoor lights with motion-detector lighting
Lights that are not being used will stay off and save energy.

Run your dishwasher only when it’s full
Reduced usage will save energy and keep your energy costs down.

Keep your freezer stocked
It’s more energy efficient when full.

Use a toaster for small jobs
It uses as much as half as much energy than conventional ovens.

Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)
They use up to 75% less energy than standard bulbs, last up to 10 times longer and save you about $30 in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime.

Cover pots and pans with tight-fitting lids
Trapped steam helps cook food faster on an electric stove. And the less time your stove is on, the more energy you save.

Arrange furniture to take advantage of natural light
Place desks and reading chairs next to windows so you don’t need additional light during the day.

Don’t let air escape from inside your house
In the winter, keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. You’ll keep the warm air in and reduce the need to turn up your thermostat.

Clean the dryer lint filter after every laundry load
A clogged filter slows drying and uses more energy.

Install more attic insulation
Upgrading from three to twelve icnhes cuts heating costs up to 20% and cooling costs up to 10%.

Only use hot water for very dirty loads 
Regular laundry loads get just as clean with cold water and use less energy to wash.

Add some Green Power to your life
When you purchase Green Power you’re reinvesting money into future renewable energy resources and helping make your state a little bit more green. Learn more about Green Power at www.scgreenpower.com

Use the “air dry” setting on your dishwasher
Heat drying is not necessary after a hot-wash cycle. By keeping it off, you save energy.

Close the refrigerator door
Every time it’s opened, up to 30% of it’s cool air escapes. Keep it closed as much as possible and save energy.

Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees
It will run more efficiently if set to the proper temperature.

Turn off lights when not in use
You save more energy turning them off than leaving them on.

Clean refrigerator gaskets regularly
Your fridge will operate more efficiently and use less electricity.

Don’t use hot water if you can avoid it
It costs more and uses more energy than cold water.

Install dimmer switches where it makes sense in your home
Install them on frequently used lights.

Turn off the oven 10 to 15 minutes before cooking time runs out
Food will continue to cook without using the extra energy.

Always measure detergent when doing laundry
Too many suds will make the washer work harder than it should.

Turn off your TV
When you’re not watching, turn it off, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It’ll save energy and money.

Paint interior walls a lighter color
This will reflect light throughout your house and limit the need for additional lighting.

Beware of “phantom” or “vampire” power
Many electronics and appliances use power when “off.” Unplug them when not in use and save energy.

Keep your refrigerator full
Food retains cold better than air does, so a full refrigerator works less than an empty one to keep cold.

Install your dishwasher away from the refrigerator
Otherwise, the dishwasher’s heat will make the refrigerator work harder.

Remove extra bulbs in linear light fixtures
If they give off more light than you need, take them out to save energy.

Use your microwave
Cooking with one is faster and more efficient than using an oven.

Seal off unused rooms in your house
Turn off the thermostat and close vents in these rooms to save energy.

Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils once a year
Keeping them clean helps your fridge run more efficiently and use less electricity.

Save Energy at Home in Spring & Summer

Save energy while on vacation
While on vacation in the summer, turn your air conditioner off or move the thermostat to a higher setting.

Set your thermostat to 78° or higher in the summer
Anything lower and your energy bill increases by up to 5% per degree.

Cool your house, not the neighborhood
Close windows and doors in the summer while the AC is on. You’ll keep the temperature and cooling costs down.

Do “heat” activities during the coolest parts of the day
Wash, bathe and bake in the morning or night in the summer when it’s cooler. You’ll save energy and help the environment.

Keep your air conditioner running smoothly
Have your equipment checked once a year by a qualified heating and cooling dealer to ensure it’s running as energy efficient as possible.

Run exhaust fan while cooking in the summer
It forces hot air out of the house, keeping energy costs down.

Run the exhaust fan when showering in the summer
It will keep the hot air out of your house so the AC doesn’t have to work harder to keep it cool.

Keep your AC running smoothly
Replace filters monthly to ensure your AC unit operates at peak efficiency. Better yet, buy a reuseable filter that can be washed.

Save Energy at Home in Fall & Winter

Apply door sweeps on exterior doors
In the winter, they minimize gaps and reduce heat loss.

Cover up when it’s cold
In the winter, before raising the thermostat, try putting on a sweater or sleeping with an extra blanket. You’ll keep your heating costs down and save energy.

Don’t let air escape from inside your house
In the winter, keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. You’ll keep the warm air in and reduce the need to turn up your thermostat.

Set your thermostat to 68° or lower
Keeping it low in winter will keep your energy bill down.

Use your ceiling fan during winter, not your heater
Reversing the blades pushes warm air down through the room. And you stay warm without turning up your thermostat, helping keep energy costs down.

If you heat an outdoor pool, cover it at night
This will conserve up to 70% of energy.

When you’re away for the winter holidays, set your thermostat to 55°
This will save energy while preventing your pipes from freezing.

Take advantage of the sun’s warmth
Open curtains and shades when the sun is shining to help keep your house naturally warm. By keeping the heater off, you save energy.

Check your heat pump filters monthly during winter
They may need to be cleaned or changed to operate more efficiently and save energy.

Install weather stripping on windows
It minimizes gaps and reduces heat loss, helping you keep heating costs down and saving energy.

Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils once a year
Keeping them clean helps your fridge run more efficiently and use less electricity.

Seal off unused rooms in your house
Turn off the thermostat and close vents in these rooms to save energy.

Set your freezer to 3° 
Food will stay frozen. And you conserve energy.

Conduct an energy audit
You’ll learn more about your energy consumption and other steps you can take to cut energy costs.

Find your audit resource here:http://hes.lbl.gov/

The US Department of Energy also has a fun, interactive way to discover ways to save energy.

Save Energy at School

Shout it out
Broadcast friendly reminders over the school PA system each day to students, faculty and staff, reminding them to turn off all unused equipment.

It pays to advertise
Use the school marquee and newsletter to spread the energy efficiency message.

Create classroom “green teams.” Students can: 

  • Check to make sure electrical equipment and lights are not left on in unoccupied rooms.
  • Post small reminder cards on every teacher’s computer to remind them to turn off their computers and electrical devices.
  • Make and use draft meters to track drafts in the classroom.
  • Make “draft snakes” to place on window sills and doors.
  • Design computer shut-down reminder cards and distribute throughout the school.
  • Close doors.
  • Produce a movie to educate their school community on energy savings.
  • Design conservation posters to display throughout the school focusing on energy and water conservation and recycling.

Use the internet
Send school wide email at the end of the day reminding teachers and staff to turn off electronic devices and unplug appliances over long breaks.

Create school wide recycling program to foster efficient use of resources.

Cold drinks during school only
Install drink misers on all drink machines to minimize energy use.

Use the sun
Install solar screens on all south and some west-facing windows to save on heating costs and energy demands.