Conserving our natural resources and being a good environmental steward is a core value at RPU. Energy and water conservation efforts help to preserve our planet's natural resources, reduce air emissions, delay the need for additional generating facilities, reduce the need to purchase expensive power during peak demand periods, and promote a healthy environment.
In 2016 alone, by working with residential and commercial customers we yielded water savings by over 9.5 million gallons and reduced electric consumption by over 24 million kilowatt-hours. In addition, we annually sponsor a community-wide Arbor Day celebration, support local tree planting efforts and other local environmental events.
Electricity use is on the rise in most homes. One reason we’re using more electricity is because we’re using more equipment and gadgets. Along with our traditional home appliances we have computer systems, entertainment centers, video games, battery chargers for our cell phones and MP3 devices, and the list continues to grow!
Before you turn on your television, or plug in your new refrigerator, take a minute to think about how much electricity it will use. How much does it impact your utility bill? Does your bill seem high lately and you don’t know why? You can solve the mystery by learning basic measurements of electricity and by using the handy Energy Usage Chart found in this brochure. Remember, the chart provides average use – energy-efficiency appliances will use less, older models will use more.
Vampire Power is a phenomenon most of us passively permit. It is a plague that consumes electricity while draining your wallet and polluting the atmosphere in the process. A vampire load is the power that is sucked from a piece of electronic equipment when it is seemingly turned off but still in standby mode, or not in use. A growing number of household electrical devices are designed to draw power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when they are turned “off” these devices continue to use electricity to operate features such as clocks, timers, and touch pads, or to receive signals from remote controls. To learn more about Vampire Power, download this brochure.
With the cost to produce and distribute energy rising, energy conservation is becoming a bigger priority for utilities and homeowners. By taking the time to inventory your energy usage, you may be able to drastically lower your monthly electric bill. By making adjustments now, you won’t only save next month, but will continue to gather savings over time. Start saving energy and time today, by becoming your own energy manager.
We have tools and resources available to help you through your energy management process. An energy audit can be your first step toward energy management. To learn more about our audit program, the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, click here.
Below are suggestions for self-help improvements that may save you money!
24 Ways to Conserve Energy
- Follow yearly maintenance schedules to ensure that your furnace and air conditioner run efficiently.
- When buying new appliances for your home, purchase ENERGY STAR® qualifying appliances. ENERGY STAR® appliances use less energy than standard appliances and can possibly qualify for rebates through our Conserve & Save® program.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when you are not home.
- Limit heating to 68 degrees (and to 55 degrees when you go to bed or are away) and cooling to 78 degrees.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They use about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer.
- Seal up all windows that have a draft by using a window sealing kit.
- Weather strip or caulk around loose-fitting exterior door jambs and windows. As much as 40 percent of your heating and cooling costs can be due to air leaks.
- Install gaskets behind switch and wall plates.
- Install a chimney collar and apply high temperature sealant.
- Open shades during the heating season and close them during the cooling season.
- Unplug rarely used appliances such as a TV located in the spare bedroom.
- Reduce water heater temperature to below 120 degrees (unless your dishwasher requires 140 degrees – check your manual).
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a clothes dryer.
- Use a fan in conjunction with air conditioners to avoid having to set the air conditioner too low.
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water.
- Wash full loads. Clothes washers and dishwashers are most efficient when operated with full loads.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Clean light bulbs and fixtures regularly. A heavy coat of dust can block up to 50 percent of the light output.
- Don’t open your refrigerator door too often! Every time the door is opened, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape.
- Use microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers. These use 75 percent less energy than an electric oven.
- When peeking in your oven to check on your food, you can lose 25 to 50 degrees or up to 30 percent of the heat. No peeking!
- Vacuum your refrigerator condenser coils every six months.
- Do the dollar bill test! Check your refrigerator and freezer door gaskets by placing a dollar bill between the gaskets and closing the door. If the bill pulls out easily, it suggests either a gasket or door adjustment problem.
- Have a home energy audit done to assess where energy efficient changes can be made to save you energy and money.
Useful Links to More Energy Saving Ideas
- Minnesota Department of Commerce
- ENERGY STAR®
- Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Department of Energy
The water you use doesn’t appear magically. It is carefully pumped from our clean, safe, and reliable groundwater aquifers and piped directly into your home. Water is a valuable resource that shouldn’t be wasted. Besides, you’re paying for every drop whether it’s used or wasted! Water conservation is a good way of life – let’s practice it together!
Below are some easy tips for conserving water. For a printable version of these tips, download RPU's Water Conservation Tips Brochure.
Saving Water In the Kitchen
- When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water.
- Fill your sink when washing and rinsing dishes.
- Only run the dishwasher when it's full.
- When buying a dishwasher, select an Energy Star® model with a "light-wash" option.
- Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).
- Repair leaking faucets.
- Install WaterSense® water-saving faucet aerators.
- Keep a bottle/jug of drinking water in the refrigerator – running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful.
Saving Water In the Bathroom
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Turn off the water to brush teeth and soap up in the shower. Fill the sink to shave.
- Repair leaking faucets.
- Install WaterSense® water-saving faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.
- Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, your toilet is leaking.
- When needed, replace your toilet with a WaterSense® high-efficiency model.
- 30% of home water use is flushed down the toilet – avoid unnecessary flushing and you’ll save big.
- Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket.
Saving Water In the Laundry Room
- Wash only full loads of laundry, or set the machine for the correct sized load.
- When purchasing a new clothes washer, buy an Energy Star® high-efficiency model, which uses 45% less water than regular washers.
- Repair leaking faucets.
Saving Water Outdoors
- Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth, and control weeds.
- Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass.
- Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
- When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system.
- Only water the lawn when necessary. Step on the grass. If it spring back up, it doesn’t need watering. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Water your lawn during early morning or later evening hours to minimize evaporation and to ensure the water get soaked up by the lawn.
- Replace a standard clock timer with a WaterSense® labeled, weather-based irrigation controller, which can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually.
- Collect rainfall in a rain barrel for irrigation.
- When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of soapy water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse. Or take your car to a self-serve car wash, which will use half the water of a home wash.
- Use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.
- Repair leaking outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.