The scent of fresh notebook paper and dry-erase markers in the air signals it's time for "Back to school."
National Grid encourages students and their families to keep energy efficiency and safety in mind to optimize their living spaces. Applying energy conservation and safety measures can be simple and cost effective, even if you live off campus.
If you are shopping for a new computer, choose one with an Energy Star rating to save both energy and money in the long term. Energy Star computers are up to 70 percent more efficient than their unrated counterparts. For a list of participating manufacturers and models, visit www.energystar.gov. Also, choosing a laptop rather than a desktop model can save you as much as $40 per year and can increase efficiency by up to 85 percent.
Below are more energy-efficiency tips to help you select back-to-school products and reduce energy consumption throughout the year:
•Consider investing in a "smart strip" that allows you to leave power flowing through selected items, such as computers or DVRs, but powers down everything else while not in use, preventing energy loss.
•Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and light-emitting diode bulbs. For each standard incandescent bulb you replace with a CFL or LED, you can save $10 or more on your electric costs over the life of the bulb. You get more hours of illumination and three to four times more lighting efficiency. CFLs have a life expectancy of eight years and LEDs have a life expectancy of 21 years, compared to one year for standard incandescent bulbs.
•Many consumer electronics continue to use power, even when turned off. Unplug cell phone chargers, laptops, video game consoles or anything with "instant on" features to save up to 29 kWh and as much as $4 a month.
•Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, stereos and computers when not in use or while you are away from home to save up to 58 kWh and as much as $9 per month.
•Cook with lids on your pots and pans. For example, cooking spaghetti without a lid on the pot can use three times more energy than if the lid were left on.
•If you sometimes return home after dark or in bad weather, consider adding timers to your light fixtures. This way, you can turn your lights off when you leave and have them already on when you come home.
•Consider LED or solar-powered desk lamps. They provide softer task lighting and use far less energy.
Electric safety tips for students:
•Avoid the danger of overloading electrical outlets with too many appliances such as computers, TVs, DVD players and video game consoles on the same circuit.
•Use surge protectors to safeguard against voltage changes during a storm.
•Use a power strip to safely organize and connect appliances to wall sockets and circuits with the appropriate voltage to accommodate the electric load.
National Grid has a 20-year track record of partnering with its customers to provide successful, award-winning efficiency programs in its U.S. service territory. To learn more about the company's energy-efficiency programs, visit https://www1.nationalgridus.com/EnergyEfficiencyServices.