How New Yorkers can help to prevent power problems and blackouts

Jul 12, 2000 02:00 AM

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers consumers a way to protect themselves from power problems and blackouts experienced in the past, by providing energy tips that easily and comfortably lighten the power load on the electricity grid and in their own homes -- and cut energy bills and pollution, too:

* Look for the Energy Star label, the symbol for energy efficiency, when replacing or shopping for room air conditioners, major appliances, lighting, windows, and home electronics. Find retailers near you at. For central air conditioning systems, make sure the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is 12 or higher -- Rick Gerardi, Director for Residential Energy Affordability at NYSERDA, indicates that this is the single most important thing consumers can do to cut energy waste and utility bills.
* Cooling and heating are half of the average family's energy bill.
Maintain your air conditioning equipment with a professional "tune-up" to save you the cost andinconvenience of a breakdown during the hottest days! Clean or replace filters monthly. Consider increasing the temperature by just three degrees to decrease your energy bills. Window units should be sized properly for optimum performance.
* Bounty for your air conditioner. Purchase a new Energy Star room air conditioner and turn in your old inefficient unit to receive a $ 75 turn-in bounty. Call 1-877-NY-COOL2 or visit for more details on this offer.
* Shift energy-intensive tasks -- laundry and dishwashing -- to off-peak energy demand hours, nights and weekends. Operate washers and dryers with full loads to get the most for your energy dollars.
* Listen to your mother. ("What do you think-we own Con Ed?!") Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers. Don't run your air conditioning when no one is home. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat or timer to turn on your air conditioner and cool your house just before you get home.
* Light up your life -- efficiently. Replace your existing light bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that use one- fourth the energy, last 10 times longer, and are more cost efficient. Instead of spending money by leaving the lights on when you are not at home, put timers on a few of the lights, or install motion detectors on exterior floodlights to improve your home security while saving energy and money.
* Make your PC as energy-efficient as possible. Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is on but not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during long periods of non-use to cut costs and improve longevity.
* Take the guesswork out of energy-efficient improvements by exploring NYSERDA's new website Their home energy analysis provides homeowners with a quick analysis of potential dollars and pollution savings. And there are lots of other tips.
* Plug energy "leaks" with appropriate insulation, weather stripping, caulking, and low-e or spectrally-selective windows, glass doors, and skylights. Make sure your attic and/or ceiling are well insulated -- as well as the rest of your home. Be sure your air ducts are not leaking and are properly insulated. A house can lose up to 20 or 30 % of its energy from leaky ducts.
* Check your refrigerator -- it runs 24 hours a day. Clean the coils to reduce your energy bills and improve the life of your refrigerator.
* Check out horizontal axis (front-loading) washers that use less water and energy and get clothes as clean as conventional units. Be sure to also investigate dryers with moisture sensors and high-efficiency refrigerators.
* If you are in the market for a new car, think high gas mileage to save hundreds of dollars in fuel bills over the life of the car and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

NYSERDA also details other energy and money-saving tips and programs on its website
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation which supports research to develop technologies that help New York save energy and reduce emissions. NYSERDA also helps New York State businesses develop energy and environmental products, commercialising the type of high-value-added products that give New York State businesses a real chance to compete in the expanding global marketplace.

Source: New York Energy Research and Development Authority
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