Day-to-day energy practices and living habitats significantly influence our water resources. This page identifies steps you can take to minimize those effects. Environmental impacts of fossil fuel-based energy production, which accounts for more than two-thirds of NY energy use, include air emissions, cooling water discharges, solid waste generation including fly ash, and land use impacts both at the source of fuel and production site. Economic impacts of residential energy use are huge.
According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) residential energy use in the state cost more than $18 billion in 2011. The US Energy Information Administration reports that, even though New York ranks 50th in energy consumption per capita, it ranks second only to Hawaii in terms of energy costs per capita. Annual expenditures of $2,000-$2,500 or more per household are common. Clearly, even modest improvements in efficiency can add up fast.
Power plant on Cayuga Lake
Steps to Reduce Energy Consumption
There are many great resources on home energy cost reduction. The list that follows will get you started.
• Service Your heating and Cooling Systems Annually…and regularly replace air filters.
• Turn Down your Thermostat and Still Stay Warm! -A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically turn down the heat each night then turn the heat on again to warm the house before you get up. Add to your savings by turning down the heat a few degrees and increasing the humidity; your home will feel just as warm. Together these can save up to $600 a year in energy costs.
• Turn Down your Water Heater to 120 degrees -and turn it off before leaving home for four or more days. It can account for up to 1/3 of a home’s heating costs! Many dishwashers will heat the water if it needs to be hotter.
• Check the Insulation in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces.
• Check for Air Leaks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets
• Check for Open Fireplace Dampers which can draft your warmed air right up the chimney.
• Replace Your Most Frequently Used Light Bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED bulbs and study your family’s lighting needs and look for ways to use controls—like sensors, dimmers, or timers— to reduce lighting use.
• Air Dry Dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
• Turn Things Off When You are Not in the Room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
• Fully Turn off Home Electronics — Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use—TVs, DVDs and other devices in standby mode still use several watts of power.
• Take Short Showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional
• Wash Only Full Loads of dishes and clothes.
• Check That Windows and Doors are Closed when heating or cooling your home.
• Look for the ENERGY STAR® Label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products.
US Dept. of Energy “Tips on Saving Money and Energy in the Home”
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Energy Resources