November in the Northeast means that the weather is beginning to get colder and more people will stay inside to keep warm, however, heating your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 43% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What’s more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.
What’s Happening at Colgate?
Colgate is currently sub-metering all of the residential and academic buildings to track and assess all buildings’ energy performances over time and is looking into cost-effective retrofitting options that will improve building energy efficiency such as installing user-friendly heating controls in residence halls to minimize temperature fluctuation.
Also, in the Fall of 2010, Colgate will implement a Green Living program that provides building-specific education programs for new occupants so that they can learn to efficiently regulate the heating and cooling of their living spaces. By increasing student awareness and understanding of heating controls, the university can mitigate significant building energy inefficiencies caused by wasteful occupant behavior.
What You Can Do
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees F in winter and 76 degrees F in summer. By decreasing your heat by even just one degree you will be saving a lot of energy.
Close the curtains when it’s cold in the winter and you could reduce your energy needs by up to 25 percent. If every house in America kept the curtain closed for additional insulation, the total energy saved annually would be as much as the entire nation of Japan uses in a year.
If you have a home install a programmable thermostat. Also, keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. An open damper can let 8 percent of the heat in your home escape. That can add up to about $100 a year to a heating bill.