Reducing Home Energy Costs is important for everyone, regardless of family size or budgets. Here are some helpful tips:
Look for the Energy Star label. It can help you identify products that use less energy. Check out www.energystar.gov for a searchable database of Energy Star products. Go digital with your thermostat. Home heating and cooling systems use a significant amount of energy. Most digital thermostats quickly pay for themselves in energy savings. Programmable thermostats save energy while you’re away or asleep by adjusting temperature settings.
- Unplug mobile phone or PDA chargers when batteries are fully charged or when the chargers are not in use.
- Be power-wise with your PC. Most personal computers have power management features that control energy use.
- Check owners’ manuals to make sure you’re taking full advantage of any energy-conservation capabilities of your electronics.
- Plug electronics, such as TVs, DVD players, and audio systems, into power strips, and turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use, especially for long periods of time. Just be sure to read the manual first to make sure you won’t affect the product (for example, TVs that need to remain plugged in so that they can download program guides).
- Investigate home networking and automation products and services that let you control heating, lighting and cooling from a central location in the home.
- When in the market for home office products, consider a multifunction device, which combines printing, copying, scanning and faxing.
- Save fuel by shopping and banking from home on your computer.
- Ask your employer about working from home or a satellite business location to cut your commute.
Additionally, residential consumption of natural gas is projected to fall by 6 percent from 2005 levels this year but increase by 7.7 percent in 2007, the EIA says. Energy conservation would help those cooling bills now and in the future. To help save energy:
- Put curtains on your windows to keep out the sun.
- Install a thermostat that will automatically adjust temperatures. Set it for 75 degrees in the summer when you are at home and raise it when you are out.
- Turn off lights, appliances, and electrical equipment when not in use. Do your baking, washing, drying and ironing early in the morning or the evening.
- Clean or replace the filter for your air conditioner.
- Let dishes air dry in the dishwasher.
Costs related to natural gas consist of four main components: production, transmission, distribution and commodity price as determined by the marketplace. When the gas is produced, it is transmitted over long distances by pipeline from the wellhead to a local gas company. Once at the gas company, it is stored and then distributed to local customers. The price of natural gas consumed is determined by supply, demand, and other market conditions.
The Gulf of Mexico supplies 25 percent of domestic natural gas that is consumed in the U.S. But 11 percent of Gulf production is still blocked due to damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Twenty-three percent of natural gas goes to home use and 27 percent goes to electricity generation. Companies like Mammoth Resource Partners Inc., a Kentucky-based oil and gas exploration company, are striving to put a dent in skyrocketing natural gas prices by tapping into the gas-rich Appalachian Basin. “While people are facing ever-increasing energy costs, investors recognize that within these increases exists a greater investment potential,” says Roger L. Cory, president of Mammoth Resource Partners.