Back-to-school energy savings

Between soccer practice and dance classes, late night dinners and last-minute projects, it’s hard for a busy family to save energy during the back-to-school season. But whether your kids are off to kindergarten or off to college, reducing your family’s energy consumption can help lower your electricity bill while still fitting into your busy lifestyle.

Increase your thermostat a few degrees

With the kids back at school, fewer people are at home during the day, so consider adjusting the thermostat accordingly. When no one is going to be at home for a few hours, try turning up the thermostat four degrees when using the air conditioner. Better yet, use a programmable thermostat, which is even easier and can help you save 10 percent or more on cooling costs.

Just program it to be a bit warmer during the hours when no one is home and set it to start cooling about a half hour before everyone comes back home. Most likely, you will not notice the difference, and generally you will save four to eight percent on your cooling bill for every degree you allow the temperature to increase. Once the temperatures start dropping and you switch to heating your house, reverse the process and set your house to be cooler during the day and at night.

Replace out old incandescent light bulbs

Old incandescent light bulbs waste heat — lots and lots of it. Energy Star fixtures and CFL light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than unrated models and last six times longer. They don’t produce less light, just heat. Plus, they save about $10 a year each in electricity costs.
Stick to Energy Star products

Energy Star rated products like computers, scanners and printers use up to 65 percent less energy than unrated new products. For computer monitors, the savings can reach 90 percent. Assuming a monitor is used eight hours per day for eight months, that’s easily $15 saved.

Consider purchasing an Energy Star desk lamp and save up to $50 over its lifetime. Generally, Energy Star products are not necessarily more expensive than other products either.

Use advanced power strips

Electronic devices continue to use power even when they are turned off. So the video game consoles your kids were using in the summer are continuing to account for five to 10 percent of your household’s total electricity usage even while they are in school. Using an advanced power strip minimizes this energy waste by cutting power to your electronics when they are not in use, saving energy and money in the process.

Get an audit

While the kids are back in school to learn math and history, why don’t you get a lesson on whether your home is energy efficient or not?

Conway Corporation offers free home energy audits to help customers identify how much energy their homes consume and what measures may be taken to make their homes more energy efficient. Annually, homes that have received a free audit from Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program save $148,000 combined in utility costs. Over the lifetime of the program, these homes have saved more than $2.6 million.

Back-to-school is a busy time for families, but reducing energy use and lowering energy bills doesn’t have to add to the time demands of an already hectic time of year. These simple steps can help make your home and your family more energy efficient. For more energy efficient tips or to learn more about the residential energy audit program, contact Conway Corporation at 501.450.6000 or visit