For many AMP members, protecting Michigan’s energy future is their primary incentive for joining. One of the most important ways to support a bright, sustainable energy future is to manage our own energy usage wisely.
Home Energy Audits
One of the best ways to understand how to optimize your energy usage is by having an expert conduct a home energy audit to determine what changes you could make to save energy. Michigan’s largest electric provider, DTE Energy, actually offers free in-home consultations and will install some complementary, energy-saving products to help. They also offer a home energy analyzer tool online.
Additionally, they provide an energy efficiency directory to help you find qualified Michigan contractors to make energy-saving upgrades to your home.
A home energy audit will typically include recommendations for weatherizing your home—and spring is a great time to focus on weatherization—the worst of the winter cold is past, and we aren’t yet facing the summer heat. Weatherization generally consists of improvements like weather stripping, insulation, or installing energy-efficient windows to keep out the extreme temperature conditions outside.
Weatherization improvements can last decades; not only that, but they can also improve your property value. For qualifying low-income customers, the Michigan Department of Human Services offers assistance paying for weatherization improvements.
Energy Efficient Products & Appliances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also sponsors the Energy Star Program, which certifies thousands of products that are energy efficient, from light bulbs to TVs to refrigerators.
Many of these products are also eligible for tax credits. Energy Star even provides a product finder so you know which energy efficient product you are looking for before you head to the store. Choosing energy-efficient products can go a long way in controlling your energy usage.
Monitor Your Usage
It’s hard to believe, but many people don’t even pay attention to their bill month to month. It’s important to understand what you use. To take the first step to optimizing your energy usage, examine your bill to get a sense for how much energy you’re using. Most electric utilities show monthly energy use year over year. Then set a reasonable goal to reduce your usage. Make small changes and see how they add up:
There are plenty of small, low- or no-cost changes you can make in your home to improve your energy efficiency—and help lower your energy costs. You can also make a plan for implementing larger changes as your time and budget permit. The effect of wiser energy usage is cumulative, so start with what you can do today and keep making improvements as you can.
As summer nears, check out these great energy-efficient cooling tips from the EPA.