Simple procedures can save energy and money

Kristina Deckert

Turning off lights, unplugging electronics among list of practices

Sophomore conservation major Ana Sigler said she often rewashes and reuses plastic Ziploc bags and foil instead of buying the items new in order to save money and energy.

“Instead of just throwing out foil, I usually reuse it,” she said. “I rewash baggies and use Tupperware containers instead of using plastic bags to store food.”

There are even more simple ways for students living in dorms, apartments and houses to save money by reducing energy and waste.

Simple practices like turning off lights and electrical equipment when no one is using them saves energy and money on electric bills.

“You’d be surprised at how many things (in your living area) are off but still consume energy,” said Frank Renovich, associate director of energy at Kent State.

Renovich also said proper heat control is a must.

“It doesn’t make sense to heat your room to 80 degrees, then open your window or something like that.”

Renovich said students can save a lot of money by turning heat down over Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

“For those living in apartments (or houses) over the holiday break, a set back thermostat works, or just put it back to 55 degrees,” he said.

Many students may not know that by humidifying a room, they may have to use less heat.

“If you can humidify your room or apartment, you’ll have less static electricity and you’ll actually feel warmer,” he said.

Renovich said a humidity of about 35 to 55 percent would be ideal for a typical apartment or house. In order to humidify a living space, students can buy humidifiers at stores like Best Buy, Target or Kohl’s.

Sigler said she uses reusable water containers rather than buying water bottles to try to conserve water and money.

“In general, I think people could buy more reusable things,” she said. “I use a reusable water container, and it works really well. You don’t think about it, but buying cases and cases of water bottles adds up.”

Renovich also suggested that students buy new appliances rather than taking old ones from friends and relatives.

“Energy ratings on the new appliances are significantly better than the older ones, even five or 10 years ago,” he said. “So when you get that old mini-fridge that your cousin used 20 years ago, it may be a real energy hog. It may even be worth your while to go out and buy a new one.”

Renovich said that the energy that old appliances use can add up, eventually costing almost as much buying a new appliance.

“You significantly use more energy in that old appliance than in a new one, which results in spending even more money,” he said.

Junior conservation major Amber Myers said that students should practice these energy saving procedures, especially in the current economic trouble of the nation.

“We’re maturing in hard times,” she said, “but let me tell you, being frugal and deciding what we need and what we want really should’ve already been a part of us for a long time.”

Simple things you can do to save energy and money:

&bull Report water leaks, overheated or overcooled spaces and other problems to maintenance personnel.

&bull Keep refrigerators defrosted.

&bull Limit the use of appliances. For example, coffee could be put in a thermos after brewing and the coffee maker turned off.

&bull Turn off electrical equipment when not in use.

&bull Turn off your computer when you will not be using it for long periods of time, or at least use put the computer on hibernate.

&bull Turn off lights in any room you’re not using. Use task lighting instead of lighting an entire room when studying.

&bull Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer.

&bull Limit use of water, especially hot water, as much as possible.

&bull Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

&bull Don’t open windows when your dorm room, apartment or house is being heated or air conditioned.

&bull Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

&bull Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.

&bull Plug TVs, computers and DVD players into power strips and turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use.

&bull Take showers instead of baths.

&bull Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving wastes gasoline.


Contact student finance reporter Kristina Deckert at [email protected].