Be an Energy-Saving Jedi 

There’s no need to use the Force—manage your energy use like a master. 


Looking for ways to save energy and time? We have some simple tips and strategies that would make Master Yoda proud. 
 

Embrace the dark side 

One of the simplest ways to save energy is to turn off lights when not in use. You can also reduce energy use with motion sensor lighting or smart outlet plugs that can help you control lighting with a smartphone app or smart speaker. 
 

Control your thermostat like a jedi master 

Smart thermostats are the next best thing to using the Force to save on heating and cooling costs. Smart thermostat features include: 

  • The ability to control the temperature in your home remotely via a smartphone, tablet or computer. 
  • An almost effortless way to enable energy savings by learning your household routine and adjusting to it. 

Some smart thermostats can also help sense energy imbalances like jedi masters—detecting problems with heating and cooling systems (and even notifying your contractor!). 

If you don’t have central air, consider a Wi-Fi window air conditioner—you can control them remotely with smartphone apps which allow you to turn up the temperature while you’re away and then precool your home shortly before you return. 
 

Stop "The Phantom Menace" 

Don’t let phantom energy be a menace in your household! Phantom energy users are devices or appliances that consume electricity even when you aren’t actively using them. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, phantom power can account for 5 to 10% of residential energy use. The average family can spend up to $100 a year in phantom energy costs.  
 
Some standby power is useful—without it we couldn’t use remote controls to dial up "Return of the Jedi" or summon Alexa to play “Ewok Celebration” on May the Fourth. Other uses, however, are not always needed, such as cell phone chargers, fans, computers and printers that draw energy while plugged in but often sit idle. 
 
Reduce your phantom menaces by following these tips:  

  • Unplug devices: The easiest way to reduce phantom energy is to unplug your phone chargers, audio and video equipment, and other electronic equipment when you are not using them. 
  • Use power strips: When you use power strips, you can cut off the phantom energy being drawn from multiple devices by simply flipping the switch. There are also specially designed “smart” power strips that can automatically cut off power when the equipment is plugged in but turned off.  
  • Check for the ENERGY STAR® label: ENERGY-STAR-rated devices use less standby power and less power overall.  
     

Landscape like an Ewok 

You don’t need landscaping that looks like the Forest Moon of Endor, but a few strategically planted trees can help you save energy! Smart landscaping can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.   

For example, large, leafy trees or vine-covered trellises help block the sun, especially if you have windows facing west. Shading windows is more important than shading walls because windows let in more unwanted heat.   
 

Zero to 60 in less than 12 parsecs? 

“Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs…She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself.” — Han Solo  

One thing’s for sure—Han Solo would love the instant torque and fast pickup electric vehicles (EVs) have to offer. Once you’ve mastered home energy savings, considering an EV can help you save on maintenance and trips to the gas station. After all, when you’re outrunning siths or needing to rescue a friend fast, who wants to stop for gas? Learn why there’s a lot to love about EVs at mge.com/LovEV

 

published: May-04-2020