Breaking Through the Confusion: An IU Student’s Perspective of Energy Conservation

When I first started trying to conserve energy, I didn’t know how to begin. When I tried finding easy ways online, it all seemed very intimidating. Too many people make extreme suggestions, telling you to turn your thermostat down to 55 and just wear a coat inside the house, or don’t have more than one or two items drawing power at the same time. One person even suggested getting rid of light fixtures and just using candles!

That’s all a bit extreme for me, especially as a beginner. But energy conservation doesn’t have to be. Here are some helpful thoughts to keep in mind.

First, you can start small. You don’t have to immediately audit everything in your home and track every bit of energy you’re using. Just think about how you can reduce your biggest sources of energy use. Try weatherizing your windows or turning the thermostat down during the day when you’re not home. You could also replace your most commonly used lightbulbs with LEDs. After you’ve covered the basics, sign up for a free home energy assessment from the MCEC to find even more ways to save!

Second, energy conservation doesn’t have to be expensive. Most energy saving projects will save money in the long run, but some can be hard to do. You don’t have to pay expensive repairmen to come service every appliance in your house right away. The most cost effective investment I made was plastic insulation for my windows. That only cost about $20 for eight windows and I saw savings greater than that in my next two gas bills. New lightbulbs are also affordable. LED’s only cost about $9 (or $3 if you buy them through the Duke Energy Savings Store!), and CFL’s are even less. Duke Energy will even give you a few free CFL’s, which are a good alternative to old incandescent bulbs. Switching out just six bulbs could save you $240 bulb for a small upfront cost.

Finally, it does make a difference. Even though it might seem like your small steps are insignificant, it adds up. And eventually you can work your way up to bigger changes. Conserve more energy, and save more money!

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