10 Ways To Save On Energy In Your Home This Winter

Winter Energy Saving
Save on Energy This Winter

Here in middle Tennessee, we’re lucky to have mild winters, without the bitter temperatures you find up north.

It still gets cold here, though, and with fall in full swing, now’s the time to think about prepping your home or apartment for winter. Simple fixes can help you save big on your energy bill in the cold months. Here are our top 10 tips:

1. Weather strips your doors and windows.

We all know there are cracks around the doors and windows of our homes, but how big is too big? If you can slip a piece of paper through the crack, you are losing too much precious heat to the elements. Add weather stripping or door sweeps to keep that expensive hot air in your home.

2. Turn down the heat when you don’t need it.

Most families now spend a significant portion of the day out of the house. Turn down the thermostat when you’re not home to keep costs down. You can also turn down the temperature at night and add warmer sheets and blankets to your beds. Of course, getting up in the morning could be that much more difficult!

3. Use those fans!

Fans aren’t just for summer. Locate the small black switch on the side of your ceiling fan and give it a little flick. Fans that run clockwise push heat down, keeping it in the rooms instead of floating along the ceiling.

4. Only heat the main rooms.

Do you have guest rooms or hobby rooms you don’t use much? Close the vents and shut the doors to those rooms so that you can funnel heat to the rooms you use more often.

5. Consider a space heater.

Central heat and air isn’t the only way to go. Consider turning down your thermostat and using space heaters to heat the rooms you use the most. This can save you significant money, especially if certain rooms heat faster than others.

6. Plug in the humidifier.

Artificial heat makes the air in your home very dry. A humidifier will add moisture to the air, making it feel warmer than normal. Moist air will also keep your skin and sinuses from drying out, which will only make the winter that much more enjoyable.

7. Keep your furnace clean.

As always, basic maintenance will go a long way to increasing energy saving. Clean your furnace and check the filters regularly. Replace filters as necessary and make sure all the vents are unblocked to keep maximum heat flowing through your home.

8. Unplug

Leaky doors and windows aren’t the only energy thieves in your home. Year round, make sure you’re unplugging TVs, computers, and gaming systems when not in use. Even when electronics are off, they pull energy from the outlets, increasing your energy bill every month.

9. Wash in cold water.

If you don’t already, wash your clothes in cold water. Heating water takes a lot of energy, and washing your clothes in cold water will cut down on it significantly.

10. Use LED holiday lights.

LED lights use about 75% less energy and last 25% longer than traditional lights. They’re also less breakable and therefore safer than incandescent. Remember to unplug them when they aren’t in use!

Simple Ways To Go Green And Save Money

Energy Saving Lighting

Too often we think that “Going Green” means spending more money. Energy efficient products are often more expensive on the front end, and even if we know we save big in the long run, it can be hard to pay that initial expense.

There’s always going to be energy waste at some businesses, but there are ways to bring it under control and save money in the meantime.

Buy Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges

Remanufactured cartridges save about 2.5 pounds of plastic and metal, keeping it out of landfills. It’s also estimated that each one saves about a gallon of oil, which is used during manufacturing.

More importantly, they cost about 15% less than new cartridges, making your supply budget go that much further.

Be Picky About Which Machines You Use

Whenever possible, use machines that serve more than one purpose. Each piece of office equipment produces tons of toxic substances during manufacturing and disposal. When you use one machine for copying, printing, scanning, and faxing, you’ve saved quite a bit of money and toxic waste.

Also look for Energy Star qualified electronics. These might be a little pricier, but they will save you in energy costs over time.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting is one of the simplest ways to save on energy costs, as well as make your office a more productive place to work.

These tips are simple, yet often overlooked. Turn off lighting when you leave. (If your employees are bad about remembering this, consider installing motion sensors.) Use as much natural light as you can, and buy compact fluorescents to cut down on energy consumed.

Go–And Stay–Digital

Do all of your employees really need a print out for the meeting’s agenda? Why not email it to everyone, or share a Google Drive among the office?

Most paperwork can be kept online these days, from invoices to presentations. Be very, very picky about what gets printed, and you’ll be surprised at how long that ream of paper will last.

These are some simple ways to cut energy costs, but at Schaffhouser Electric, we’re experts in green technology, Give us a call and we’ll talk about personal estimates tailored to your particular office.

How to Light Your Office for Productivity

Office Lighting
Ever wonder why you have a headache at the end of a day at the office?

It could be your boss again, but if it happens every day, there’s a good chance improper lighting is the culprit.

Somewhere along the way, we decided that bright, overhead fluorescent lights were the only way to light a common area. School and corporate office buildings are the worst offenders, and it greatly affects the productivity of everyone in the building.

So, what are some good lighting solutions for a workspace? Here are some things to consider:

Maximize Natural Light

Big windows are the best source of light available. Natural light is brighter than artificial light, but sunshine has the added benefit of enhancing workers’ moods.

Natural light also saves energy, making it the best economic choice, too.

Muted Overhead Light

Obviously, you can’t survive in an office on natural light alone.

When choosing overhead lighting, skip the big, buzzing fluorescent lights and opt instead for softer light fixtures. Not only does this add personality to your office, it reduces the harshness of overhead lights.

Task Lighting

In addition to natural light and soft overheads, task lighting for individual employees is essential. Lamps placed around an office and on employees’ desks will allow them to control the lighting they need.

Soft, But Not Too Soft

The name of the lighting game is balance.

The default of many office buildings is too much overhead, artificial light. That much light strains the eyes, but so does going too soft. Play around with different lighting options until you strike just the right balance for your employees and work tasks.

Need help designing the perfect light for your office? Give us a call a Schaffhouser Electric, and we’ll talk through all of your options with you.

4 Changes Your Business Should Make to Save On Energy Costs

Now that summer is upon us, it’s a good time for small businesses to rethink their energy needs. With temperatures down South reaching into the 100s, things like air conditioning can skyrocket your energy bill.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to curb those costs.

Install Motion Detecting Lights

For years the most common energy-saving device has been to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Save On Energy Costs
But, let’s be honest, no one remembers to do that!

In an office, it can be even worse. You want your employees focused on their work, not how much flipping the switch will save on your electric bill.

Motion detecting lights are the perfect solution. These lights will turn themselves off when no one is in the room, eliminating the need for everyone to remember. They work best for conference rooms and bathrooms, which are seldom used and can sit fully lit for days without anyone noticing.

Switch Up Your Other Lights

Harsh overhead fluorescent lights not only cost more to use, they also contribute to headaches and fatigue.

Do yourself and your employees a favor by switching up the lighting around the office. Try a variety of lamps around the office. Open the curtains and let in natural light.

Take some time to play with the light levels to ensure everyone’s comfort. There’s a balance between too much and too little light, and you want to find what works best for your company.

Turn Off The Screen

Everyone loves a good screensaver, but the truth is they take the same amount of energy as anything else on the screen.

Instead of screensavers, instruct employees to turn off the monitor or put it in sleep mode when they leave. This simple solution, spread across your whole company, will save a lot in energy costs.

While you’re at it, consider unplugging all devices when everyone leaves for the day. Plugged in devices still use energy, but simply switching off the power strip can reduce the amount used.

Just Go Home

This suggestion might sound crazy, but hear us out.

If employees are allowed to work from home, your in-office energy costs will obviously be lower. Many businesses enact a “summer schedule,” allowing employees half or whole days off on Fridays.

Thanks to services like Google Hangouts, employees can still communicate throughout the day and stay productive. Or, if you allow employees to work a few more hours on other days and take Fridays off, you’ll be popular as well as energy-efficient!

Schaffhouser Electric can help. Contact Schaffhouser Electric today!

4 Tips For Lighting Up Your Kitchen

Like it or not, the kitchen usually becomes the gathering place in a home. Whether it’s hungry kids waiting on dinner or guests wanting to chat with the host, everyone comes together in the kitchen.

Yet the most important room in the house is often poorly lit. Many kitchens come with just a single overhead light, which isn’t enough even when it’s attached to a ceiling fan.

How should kitchens be lit? Check out our 4 favorite kitchen lighting tips:

Track Lighting

Track lighting is one of the best lighting solutions for a kitchen. There are endless options for configuring track lighting in your kitchenkitchen lighting, and the fixtures can be situated to shine right where you need them. And not where you don’t. You can install track lighting that uses regular bulbs, or you can find lights that use LED if you’re more energy conscious. LED track lights are slightly more expensive at the outset, but the energy savings over time will more than pay back the investment.
Track lighting also comes in a variety of styles that will fit with any taste, making them a great go-to lighting source for any kitchen.

Undercabinet Lighting

Even with great track lighting, your body and the cabinets can often block light coming from the ceiling.
Under cabinet lighting is the perfect pairing with track lighting. Under cabinet lights provide more direct light to the chopping and mixing happening on the counter, which makes the kitchen safer.
Homeowners can also add their unique style with under cabinet lights by choosing the type of light, spacing, and bulb size.

Dimmer Switch

Putting your lights on a dimmer switch is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and it works just as well in the kitchen.
Changing to a dimmer switch allows you to use the highest wattage bulb your fixtures will take. Then, you have the flexibility of adjusting to suit your needs.
Thanksgiving dinner with 100 helpers in the room? You can throw the dimmers all the way up.
Small, intimate dinner party? A lower light will set the mood while still providing enough illumination for food prep.

Windows

Our last kitchen lighting tip seems so simple, but is often overlooked.
Any home is more pleasant when it’s full of natural light. If you have windows in your kitchen, use only the barest blinds or curtains you need for privacy to take full advantage of the natural light coming into the room.
Great natural light enhances any indoor lighting system, and that’s true in the kitchen, too.
Lighting a kitchen well isn’t hard or expensive. Simple tweaks can make the busiest room in your home an even better place to be.

Interested in lighting up your kitchen? Contact Schaffhouser Electric today!