Take the '6° Challenge' - 'Energy Diet' New Year

As U.S. consumers vow to diet as part of their New Year's resolutions, the Alliance to Save Energy urges them to adopt an easier-to-keep "energy diet" resolution with an ongoing payoff, even if they "fall off the wagon."

Washington D.C, December 2006 - As U.S. consumers vow to diet as part of their New Year's resolutions, the Alliance to Save Energy urges them to adopt an easier-to-keep "energy diet" resolution with an ongoing payoff, even if they "fall off the wagon."

Test your energy IQ, and take the 6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge. Resolve to do just one thing to lower your energy use, and challenge six friends, family, or colleagues to do the same at www.sixdegreechallenge.org. And see how our energy use, and waste, affects six key aspects of our lives - the energy prices we pay, our home comfort, the air we breathe, our energy security, our economic well-being, and the world we leave behind.

Plug energy leaks. Spend just a few dollars on sealant and weather stripping and plug leaks around doors and windows to make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient - and save on those heating and cooling bills year after year.
Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use about one-third the energy of incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Replace four 75-watt incandescent bulbs in your home that burn four or more hours a day with comparable 23-watt compact fluorescent bulbs to save around $200 over the life of the bulbs.

A programmable thermostat "remembers for you" to adjust the indoor temperature according to your daily and weekend routines to avoid wasting energy and money while the house is empty and reduce heating costs up to 10 percent. This money- and energy-saving device is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Take a surprising trivia quiz at http://energysavings.honeywell.com/quiz.asp.

Let Uncle Sam help pay for your energy-efficiency home improvements. Certain energy-saving products are eligible for federal income tax credits totaling $500 through 2007. They include insulation, sealants, weather stripping; new ENERGY STAR windows, including storm windows; and highly efficient furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and central air conditioners. (Details in English and Spanish at www.ase.org/taxcredits.)

Properly maintain your heating system. Clean or replace furnace filters regularly.
Insulate heating ducts, and keep them in good repair to prevent heat loss. Your system can lose up to 60 percent of its warmed air before it reaches the register, if ducts are not properly insulated in unheated areas such as attics and crawlspaces. Also insulate your hot water heater and hot water pipes.

Look for the ENERGY STAR label, the government's symbol of energy efficiency, on 40 different types of products - including appliances, electronics, lighting, home office equipment, windows, and more - to save up to 30 percent on related home energy bills. TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, and cordless phones with built-in display clocks, memory chips, and remote controls continue to use energy in the "off" mode and account for 5 percent of total U.S. electricity use. Those with ENERGY STAR labels use less energy in the "off" mode.

Open curtains and other window treatments on your west- and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night.

Enjoy your fireplace, but don't send precious, costly warmed air up the chimney! Reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or opening the nearest window about an inch, closing off the room, and turning down the thermostat to 50 to 55 degrees. And don't forget to close the flue when you're done enjoying the fire.

Turn off kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans within 20 minutes to retain heated air. When replacing exhaust fans, consider high-efficiency, low-noise models.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.

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