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It is Easy to Save Money and Our Planet at the Same Time

I reduced my LIPA bill by more than half and so can you!

In previous blog posts I have reminded the community that humans are rapidly warming the climate by adding massive amounts of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide. It is urgent that we begin reducing these emissions now so that our climate does not change in a way that we cannot adapt. The good news is that one way to do so is to become more energy efficient and that means saving money. Who doesn’t like saving money? And if we can save the planet while doing so, well, that is a great bonus!

I have reduced my LIPA bill from $186/month in 2008 down to $86/month in 2012. $100/month right into my pocket and I have to tell you, it feels good keeping my money instead of sending it to LIPA. Images #1 and #2 show my LIPA bills from 2008 and present.

Back in 2008, I blogged about how I reduced my LIPA bill from $186/month down to $147/month by:

  1. Changing all of my light bulbs to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)
  2. Turning down the oil burner thermostat *
  3. Changing the line-powered sidewalk lights to solar
  4. Insulating all my copper piping *

* When the burner is not running it saves electricity while also dramatically reducing heating oil expenses.

I recovered the up-front cost of these changes in six months and today CFL bulbs are much cheaper so savings will come sooner today.

In a blog post titled Put a Chill on Your High Electric Bill, I showed how replacing my old refrigerator with a new energy-efficient unit is saving me $263 per year which means I will save enough money in 4.5 years to pay for the refrigerator. Every year after that is money in my pocket! Image #3 shows the savings from my new energy miser vs. the old energy hog.

In my blog post titled LED Me Tell You About My Light-er Electric Bill, I showed how using LED bulbs in the most used light fixtures can save money even though the up-front cost appears at first glance to be quite high. According to Philips, these bulbs will last 18.3 years if used an average of three hours per day. (Home Depot will replace them for life so there is no risk!)  Based on three hours per day at my current LIPA rate of $0.17/kWh, each bulb will save me $44.20 over that 18.3 year lifetime.  At $11 per bulb, the energy savings will pay for the bulbs in about 4.5 years.  (Of course, the assumption is that energy rates will not rise in the next 4.5 years.  I assume that the rates will rise and I will achieve my cost savings sooner.)  As an added bonus, these bulbs cast off almost no heat
which is a huge improvement over the older bulbs that quickly heat up the dining room to uncomfortable levels in the warmer seasons.

Some other simple green actions that my wife and I do that reduce our carbon footprint and save us $$$:

  1. Hang clothes out to dry when possible.(You might wish to ask your neighbors if they mind.) BTW, the clothes smell great this way.
  2. Programmable thermostats. I have three zones and program each zone to turn down when not in use. During the day when nobody is upstairs, why run the heat there? At night, when we are all upstairs sleeping, why heat the 1st floor and basement play room?
  3. Turn off lights and unplug any chargers when not in use.
  4. Run ceiling fans instead of A/C when it is not too oppressive.
  5. Cook on the grill almost every night. Propane is much cheaper than running that range or oven every night and the oven can heat up your house during summer thus competing with your AC. Grilling is also healthier than many other ways to cook food.

 

Some will claim that slowing climate change is too costly. Nonsense! I have showed here how reducing my carbon footprint actually saves money and many experts agree.

I am eager to hear what you have done to become more energy efficient.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scott A Mandia June 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I am very willing to sit down and talk over a cup of coffee or a beer with any person who is doubtful or unsure that humans are causing the climate to warm. You have nothing to lose and you get a free drink. If interested, send an email to mandias@sunysuffolk.edu
EG June 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
There is equal if not more evidence that we are actually due for another ice age. I think it's safe to say the sun has way more to do with climate change than cow flatuation or plant loving CO2. But lets say we are headed for global warming. The way I look at it the corn belt will only shift and expand north to friendly Canada. The northwest passage will become navigable. The desert will expand between Mexico and the US which would nullify the need for a fence. The heat would scorch the mideast destroying the terrorist nests. All the houses that get washed away would cause a economic boom in the housing industry. It's a win win situation. Now however if we go into an Ice Age, we're screwed. We'll have to heat our houses year round and buy our oil from the Arab Garden of Eden. Our food supply would disappear. We'll be sneaking across the border to Mexico for food and jobs. So to play it safe my goal is to leave the biggest possible carbon footprint I can. So large it can be seen from space. You'll thank me some day.
Paul Kersey June 07, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Bazhenov-Neocomian oil formation covers 80 times the land area of the Bakken in the US and Canada Another oil shale play that dwarfs the Bakken. It’s called The Bazhenov. It’s in Western Siberia, in Russia. And while the Bakken is big, the Bazhenov — according to a report last week by Sanford Bernstein’s lead international oil analyst Oswald Clint — “covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined.” This is 80 times bigger than the Bakken. http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/bazhenov-neocomian-oil-formation-covers.html
Michael Guglielmo June 07, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Very interesting and informative however, you missed out on some major savings. You can increase your savings even more by installing energy efficient Window Shades and Skylight Shades that will eventually pay for themselves. Just ask me how at www.MyCreativeWindows.com.
Scott A Mandia June 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Michael, Yes, this is true. I installed skylight blinds in the upstairs and we have room darkening blinds on all sun-facing windows. Blocking the incoming sun puts less pressure on those ACs during the oppressive heat. I also recently replaced all my windows and five skylights with energy efficient units. It does take a very long time to recover the cost of windows with energy savings so I do not suggest doing so if your goal is simply cost-saving. I also suggest paying the little extra to get skylights than can be opened. My former skylights were stationary so I could never vent the heat. Opening them makes a huge difference.

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