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Saturday, July 25, 2009

U.S. DOE Scores D- on Internal Energy Audit

Failure to use or fix programmable thermostats wastes energy.

It's a simple fix -- one that any homeowner can make on his or her own to save energy at home.

The U.S. energy department flunked its own energy use audit.

According to a new story published July 23, 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy is wasting enough electricity to power more than 9,800 homes a year.

The problem: keeping the building heat and cooling systems running after DOE employees have left for the day.

The solution to this problem is to use, or replace broken or malfunctioning, ‘set back’ thermostats. Setback thermostats are thermostats that can be programmed to make furnaces or air-conditioner turn on and off at specific times of the day. They also allow you to pre-program thermostats to operate at specific temperatures.

In winter, these devices turn the temperature down when you leave the house, raising it back to a more comfortable level when you return home. And they perform a similar function in summer -- raising temperatures when you leave home, and lowering them to a more comfortable level automatically at the time when you are scheduled come back from your workday.

Some models of these smart thermostats come with such helpful features as a:
  • Signal that reminds you when to change the furnace or air-conditioner filter
  • Lock that prevents random changes to the thermostat’s settings
  • Automatic modification of temperature settings with changes of the season
  • Low battery warning indicator
These devices are available at most hardware stores, and online. They aren't cheap -- but then they are a lot less expensive than leaving the heat on during the winter when no one is at home.

So check them out and let a digital device manage your thermostat automatically -- while improving energy efficiency and lowering utility bills.

Read more about the DOE's ironic little failure at http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=10781251

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