“Tons of Change Thursday”

Tweenie’s Greenies: Thursday Edition

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It’s fall and the leaves are turning into deep reds, yellows and oranges.  I love fall.  The crisp, fresh air is such a welcome change from the Michigan humidity that often accompanies the summer days.  It may also be time to start thinking about that heating bill again as some of you begin to turn the thermostat up.  However, before you turn on the heat, I would like to urge you to stay cool this year.  

I think this is one of the easiest ways to cut home energy costs and to green up your home at the same time (heating and cooling accounts for about 1/2 of an average homes energy bill).  The fuel sources for most of our homes (75% of U.S. Homes) are either coal, oil or natural gas.  All of these are fossil fuels will impact the environment in some negative way (air pollution and greenhouse gases) and they are non-renewable to boot (can’t be replenished in a relatively short amount of time).  So, I know you are all thinking “Yada, Yada, I have heard it all before.  Use a programmable thermostat (save about $150 per year doing so).  Check insulation in my home and improve as needed (Save up to 20% on heating costs by caulking, filling, and insulating).  Be sure to clean and keep my furnace maintained properly (Save up to another 20% by using an Energy Star Furnace and keeping it properly maintained not to mention the tax incentive).  Blah, Blah, Blah. ”   Well, I might say things like that to you but I am going to go one step further and suggest that you explore an alternative renewable energy resource for either part or all of your residential needs.

So, how about those renewable energy resources….solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal.  I know that these sources can be hard to find depending on where you live, but give it a shot.  You never know what you may find.  For example, you may find that your natural gas provider has a program called “green currents”.  Pay attention here all you Michigan DTE Energy costumers.  About 20 states have renewable energy portfolios.  In Green Currents, you can pay a little bit more to receive a portion of energy (a percent) from wind energy.  Therefore, you would be supporting renewable energy sources and the Michigan economy.  Link to the FAQ page for questions regarding DTE Michigan’s program.  It is a little confusing to understand how they use this money but the FAQ clarifies it for you.  The nice part about Green Currents, is that you can “receive” more renewable energy without setting up large solar panels or wind turbines around your home.

I am also going to challenge you to follow me in keeping a cool house.  If you simply set your thermostat a degree lower you will save big over the course of the cold season.  For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 5% of your heating bills.  Who couldn’t use that extra cash over Christmas?  OR you could try to not turn on your heat at all.  Well, at least not for a while.  The weather here in Michigan is nice and warm right now.  It’s already October and we still haven’t turned on any heat since spring.  I am going to see how long I can hold out on turning on the stinky furnace.  I have 3 little ones and I am not going to turn them into popsicles, but I will layer them with shirts and sweaters before I turn on the heat.  I will let you know how long I can hold out on turning on the heat.  Perhaps I should offer a prize for any of you Michiganders who dare try to last longer than I.  Hmmm…I should have some extra money after saving it on the heating bill or lack there of.  I am the Master of my Domain 🙂

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