“The City Schools have built a lot of new schools and they’ve put all energy-efficient innovations into them,” said Joy McKee, director of Operation Green Team. “They’ve made a huge dent in the amount of energy that is wasted.”
The campaign’s foundation has been the “Take Five” program, through which citizens can make a dent in their power bills and in overall conservation. The five items are:
- Change to LED lighting. Users should pick the five most-used lights in their homes and switch from incandescent bulbs to LED. A homeowner who changes 15 bulbs could save an average of $50 a year.
- Unplug! The phrase is “vampire appliances,” for those that suck up the most energy. Unplugging 25 to 40 consumer electronics when not in use – a toaster, a phone charger, game consoles or even a cable box while you’re traveling – can save up to $200 a year.
- Set the thermostat right. Heating and cooling make up half the average family’s home energy bill. Set it to 78 degrees in the summer and to 68 degrees in the winter; thicker socks and a flannel throw are a good trade-off to cutting energy and costs.
- Take a 5-minute shower. Water heating makes up 18 percent of the average bill. Shorter showers, clothes washed in cold water and making sure the dishwasher has a full load before using reduces waste heat.
- Keep it closed. Though a full weatherization can be costly, do simple things like closing a garage door and making sure windows are closed if heat or air conditioning is running.