From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 27, 2007 02:48 PM

Greening The New Year

HOUSTON -  According to a recent survey,  49 percent of all Americans will make a green New Year's resolution for 2008. Direct Energy, a large North American provider of energy and energy-related services is offering tips to help homeowners keep their green resolutions. "Making a green resolution is easy since it can yield tremendous benefits, such as reducing energy consumption, saving money and helping the environment," said Dave Walton, director of home ideas for Direct Energy. "However, like any New Year's resolution, keeping that commitment to energy efficiency can be a little harder, so we wanted to offer these quick and easy tips to help homeowners." 

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To help homeowners get going, the company is challenging consumers to start the "seven days of saving challenge" -- quick and easy tips consumers can adopt each day to make their home more energy-efficient and reduce their carbon footprint:

-- Change your light bulbs: Year-around, lighting can account for as much as 25 percent of a home's electrical use. Simply replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights that use up to 75 percent less energy. Imagine if every American home replaced their five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified models. The estimated savings would amount to nearly $8 billion dollars a year -- greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars!

-- Upgrade to ENERGYSTAR appliances: ENERGYSTAR labeled products can cut your energy bills by up to 30 percent when you're ready to replace your heating and cooling systems -- as well as appliances, lighting, windows, office equipment, and home electronics Consider investing in new appliances if your budget allows since you should see immediate energy savings. -- Use the dishwasher more: One load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you'll use half as much water as a dishwasher.

-- Unplug the charger on your cell phone: When portable devices such as a Blackberry(TM), cell phone, or iPod(TM) are finished charging, disconnect the device and unplug the charger. Even if the device isn't connected, energy continues to seep out through the charger itself. -- Purchase a Rug in the season's newest color -- Green. A rug is not only a decorator's must have, but it also helps insulate your floors and cut down on the noise too.

-- Let the sunshine in. Open the drapes or blinds on sunny days and bask in the 'free' heat. Keep those south-facing windows squeaky clean to let the light through. Remember to close the drapes or blinds when the sun sets.

-- Renewable energy does not only include solar panels and windmills on your home. Start thinking about what is right for you and your family. Direct Energy also purchases electricity from renewable energy sources with solar panels, windmills and other technologies. By purchasing a Direct Energy product, you are also purchasing renewable energy. For those who really want to challenge themselves in 2008, Direct Energy encourages consumers to join Energy Star's "Change a Light" campaign and pledge to save on their personal energy usage.

Take the pledge to change even one incandescent light bulb in your house to a CFL bulb. You are guaranteed to achieve savings in energy consumption, and reduce your energy costs.

To learn more: http://www.directenergy.com/ or energystar.gov.

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