W RLD CONSERVE YOUR Conservation begins with you,

W   RLD CONSERVE YOUR Conservation begins with you,
Conservation begins with you,
and the things that you do at home every day!
A publication of the Florida Public Service Commission
ne C apsc.com
Florida Public Service Commission
Division of Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Assistance
2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0850
You can contact the PSC via the following e-mail address: [email protected]
See our Internet home page at www.floridapsc.com.
The word “conservation” is used a lot these days, especially when it comes to fuel,
money, savings, and energy. Sometimes the word has negative connotations because people immediately think they
have to do without something. But, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, conservation doesn’t mean
doing without -- it means “the act or process of conserving -- carefully or sparingly, avoiding waste.”
Because we all want to breathe clean air, drink pure water, and ensure that future generations are able to do the
same, all of us need to be concerned about protecting the environment and conserving our natural resources.
The Public Service Commission, the agency charged with regulating most utilities in Florida, has recognized the
importance of educating consumers about the growing need to conserve the state’s limited energy and water resources.
This booklet gets right to the heart of conservation. It contains a variety of ideas on ways to use energy and water
wisely and to make homes more energy-efficient. Following these simple steps will help you save money now and in
the future by helping to reduce your energy and water needs.
Many of the tips require little effort -- weatherstripping doors and windows, planting shrubs that require little
water and trees to shade your home, installing low-flow shower heads and water restrictors.
Some suggestions are more involved -- wrapping your water heater, buying energy-efficient appliances, and considering the purchase of a heat pump for your home. Other conservation tips may require a change in habits -- keeping
the thermostat at an energy-efficient setting, using the dishwasher only when full, and not letting your kitchen sink
water run excessively.
Utilities understand that conservation and the efficient use of resources must be considered as a responsible
approach to protecting the environment and reducing costs. Electric and water utilities are encouraging their customers to use less, recognizing that our resources are finite and that building new power plants is a huge economic burden.
All of us working together will ensure that future generations have a safe, clean environment and an adequate supply
of energy and water.
Learn To Save Energy at Home!
Much of our residential energy, about 48 percent, is used to heat and
cool our homes. An additional 16 percent goes for water heating, the second-largest individual home energy user and expense. Refrigerators and
freezers use 12 percent. The remaining 24 percent goes to lighting, cooking
and running appliances.
We can cut our energy use and help control living costs by making our
homes energy-efficient, even if we have to spend some money to do it. The
money we spend now can help hold down energy costs.
Protecting your home from outside heat and cold
Millions of homes in the United States still are not adequately protected
from outside weather, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Here are
some tips to make sure yours is not one of them!
A well-insulated home saves energy by
keeping heat inside during the winter
and outside during the summer.
Adding just 1 inch of insulation to
an uninsulated wall can reduce heat
loss (winter) or heat gain (summer)
through that wall by 40-50 percent.
Draft-proof windows, doors and other air leaks
Test your windows and doors for airtightness. Move a lit candle around
the frames and sashes of your windows. If the flame dances around,
you need caulking and/or weatherstripping.
Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows. It’s easy to do yourself.
Caulking and weatherstripping materials cost about $25 for the average
house (12 windows, 2 doors). Savings in annual energy costs could
amount to 10 percent or more!
Find out about R-values before you
buy your insulation materials. Then
buy the thickness of insulation that
will give you the R-value you should
have. R-values (or R-numbers) refer
to the performance of insulation,
measuring the resistance over time.
The higher the R-number, the more
effective the insulation capability.
The numbers should appear on
packages of all insulation materials:
mineral, glass fiber, or rockwool
batts or blankets; foam or loose fill
materials that are poured or blown
into insulation spaces; or rigid
board insulation. If the insulation
you buy doesn’t have the R-value
written on the package, ask the
salesperson to write the R-value on
your receipt for future reference.
Insulate Your Home!
No matter how you heat or cool your home, you can reduce the load on your
heating and cooling equipment by as much as 20 to 30 percent by investing
a few hundred dollars in insulation. Insulation is an energy-efficient way to
control air movement. By slowing and trapping air, insulation acts as a
barrier to keep house temperatures more constant. Reducing the rate of heat
flow will also result in lower air conditioning and heating costs. The benefits of insulation -- lower utility costs -- continue for years.
Insulate your attic floor or top floor ceiling to a minimum of R-26. The
attic is the most critical location, since more heat per square foot travels
through your ceiling than any other house structure. If you have old
insulation in your attic, you probably won’t be able to judge its R-value.
But if you have 3 inches or less of old insulation, chances are you need
more to bring the insulation level up to the recommended level. Investment costs could range from $100 to $1,000. Heating and cooling savings, however, should range from somewhere around 5 percent (if you
are adding to present insulation) to as much as 30 percent (if you have
no insulation).
Find out if your home needs insulation. Your needs will depend on the
climate you live in and the amount of insulation that is already present.
For guidance, consult with a reputable insulation dealer in your community or with your local building inspector or county agent.
It is vital that insulation is installed properly. Insulation that is compressed or installed with gaps will not function at its rated efficiency.
What Causes a High Electric Bill?
More than 70 percent of a normal electric bill is caused by water heating and
air conditioning or heating. Unsuspected losses or misuse of electricity can
cause unnecessarily high bills. Minimizing the use of these three appliances
can result in substantial savings. About half of our residential energy costs
comes from heating and cooling our homes. Don’t waste any of that precious conditioned air.
Clean or replace air filters regularly.
Keep outside units free of leaves or
debris that may clog vents.
Interference with the free flow of
air makes the unit work harder
and cost more to operate.
Move any obstructions that may be
blocking the flow of heated or cooled
air from vents or from individual
heating or air conditioning units.
Your air conditioning or electric heating bill can be
greatly reduced by:
Using blinds or shades for large windows situated in the east or west
sides of the house. Installing awnings on windows and front and back
porches also decreases energy consumption. Casement windows ventilate better than awning or jalousie windows. Jalousie windows are the
most difficult of the three to seal.
Not heating or cooling an unused room more than necessary.
Note: In a heat pump or air conditioning system, most of the air supply
vents should remain at least partially open to avoid possible damage to
the system.
Keeping your fireplace damper closed unless you have a fire going.
An open damper in a 48-inch square fireplace can let up to 8 percent of
your heat out the chimney.
Consider the advantages of a clock
thermostat for your heating system.
The clock thermostat will turn the
heat down for you automatically at a
regular hour before you retire and
turn it up again before you wake.
While you can easily turn your
thermostat back at night and up
again in the morning yourself,
the convenience of a clock
thermostat may be worth the
$40 to $90 investment.
HEATING Energy Savers
Set your thermostat as low as possible. Sixty-eight degrees is often
recommended as a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor
temperature. You can save on your fuel costs for every degree you
reduce the average temperature in your home.
Keep draperies and shades open in sunny windows; close them at night.
Insulate accessible heating ducts in unheated areas.
Don’t turn the heat on until you have to. On cool evenings, use your
fireplace instead (if you have one) and add an extra blanket at night.
For comfort in cooler indoor temperatures, use the best insulation of all
-- warm clothing. A light long-sleeved sweater equals almost 2 degrees
in added warmth; a heavy long-sleeved sweater adds about 3.7 degrees;
and two lightweight sweaters add about 5 degrees in warmth because
the air between them serves as insulation to keep in more body heat.
COOLING Energy Savers
Dress for warmer indoor temperatures. Casual clothes of lightweight
open-weave fabrics are most comfortable.
Overcooling is expensive and wastes energy. Don’t use or buy more
cooling equipment capacity than you actually need.
Install air conditioning units on the north or shady side of the house.
Set your thermostat as high as possible. Seventy-eight degrees is often
recommended as a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor
temperature. (Every degree counts -- lowering the thermostat to 76
degrees increases energy consumption by 35 percent.)
Open the windows instead of using
your air conditioner or electric fan on
Turn off the air-conditioning unit when there are no occupants in the
home, and use ventilating fans to cool the house. Ceiling fans make you
feel 2-4 degrees cooler and may postpone the need for air conditioning.
cooler days and during cooler hours.
Keep out daytime sun with vertical
louvers or awnings on the outside of
your windows, or draw draperies,
blinds, and shades indoors.
Make sure the ducts in your air-conditioning system are properly sealed
and insulated, especially those that pass through the attic or other
uncooled spaces.
Clean the condenser coil of central air and heat units periodically with a
garden hose.
Don’t place lamps or television sets
near your air-conditioning thermostat.
Heat from these appliances is sensed
by the thermostat and could
cause the air-conditioner to run
longer than necessary.
Energy-efficient water heaters
initially may cost a little more, but
reduced operating costs can
make up for the higher outlay.
Take short showers and use watersaving shower heads to reduce
hot water consumption.
Don't let the water run unnecessarily
while you brush your teeth or shave.
Keep your cooling system well tuned with periodic maintenance by a
professional serviceman.
Install a whole-house ventilating fan in your attic or in an upstairs
window to cool the house when it’s cool outside, even if you have
central air-conditioning.
HOT WATER Energy Savers
Heating water accounts for about 20 percent of all the energy we use in our
homes. Don’t waste it!
Repair leaky faucets promptly.
Do as much household cleaning as possible with cold water.
Insulate your hot water storage tank and piping.
Install aerators and low-flow shower heads.
Buy a water heater with thick insulation and use an insulation blanket.
Wash full loads when using an automatic dishwasher or washing
If the day is nice, hang out your clothes to dry.
Household Appliances
The golden rule is, "If you are not using it, turn it off!" About 30 percent
of the average consumer’s electric bill results from use of these
KWH Per Month
Turn off the lights in any room
that is not in use and switch to
energy-saving halogen bulbs.
Pool pump
Refrigerator-freezer (frost free)
Clothes dryer
Range oven and surface
Television or stereo
Electric blanket
Automatic coffee pot
Microwave oven
Clothes washer
Hair dryer
Vacuum cleaner
Cost Per Month
$ 20.72
*Residential Electric Profile - based on an electric rate of 8 cents per kilowatt hour (2-3 people per household)
Operating appliances in an efficient manner will not only save money, but
will increase the longevity of the appliance.
The Refrigerator
When using the oven, make the
most of the heat from that single
source. Cook as many foods
as you can at one time.
Don't open the oven door excessively
and release the stored heat.
Clean the condenser coils behind or underneath your refrigerator every
six months.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the correct temperature.
Note: The refrigerator should be at 36-42 degrees, and the freezer should
be at 0-10 degrees.
Test with a refrigerator thermometer and adjust temperature control
All doors on the system should seal tightly. Replace seals if necessary.
Keep refrigerator and freezer full.
The refrigerator should be as far away as possible from the stove.
Keep the door closed.
Defrost refrigerator when frost builds up to one-quarter inch thick.
The Oven
Make full use of the oven when it is heated.
Reduce oven temperatures 25 degrees when using glass cookware.
Don’t use a range-top burner that is too large for the pot.
Microwave Oven
The microwave oven saves money because it requires less energy.
Residential Energy
Survey Program
Through the Residential Energy
Survey Program, auditors give a
customer written recommendations
on energy saving measures and
practices, and inspect the duct
system and attic insulation.
The customer is also given informational brochures on conservation.
This program is available to most
customers in Florida through the local
electric company. Contact your utility
company to schedule a survey.
The Pool Pump
Reduce the operating time of your pool pump to 6-8 hours in the
summer, and 4-6 hours in the winter.
Empty the skimmer basket frequently.
Clean the pool every week, and maintain the proper chemical balance.
Water Conservation
Florida is fortunate to have the country’s largest underground freshwater
reserves. Since Florida’s aquifers hold so much potable water, many residents view the supply as endless. Unfortunately, it is not. In many parts of
our state, there is visible evidence of the severe depletion that is occurring
within our underground reservoir system due to population growth, development, and saltwater intrusion.
The Florida Public Service Commission feels it is imperative for consumers
to become educated and active in the conservation of our water supply. The
benefits of reduced water consumption will also be reflected in lower water
Saving At Home
A significant reduction in water use can be made by implementing some
water-saving tips in the household.
The Bathroom
Eighty percent of in-home water use occurs in the bathroom.
Lower the water level in the toilet.
Throw tissues and other trash in a waste basket, not the toilet.
Five gallons of water is used on each flush.
Avoid leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
Replace your toilet or shower head with a low-flow water-saving model.
Take showers instead of baths.
The Kitchen/Laundry Room
When washing your car, use a bucket
for soapy water, only use the hose when
rinsing, and use a low-flow nozzle.
Check your sprinkler coverage.
There is no need to water the streets.
Use a rake and broom
(not your hose) to clean sidewalks, driveways and gutters.
Wash only full loads in your dishwasher. Automatic dishwashers use
20 gallons of water per cycle regardless of load size.
When you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running.
Do not use running water to thaw meat or frozen foods.
Use the proper load setting when you use your washing machine.
Use your garbage disposal sparingly.
During basic maintenance or repairs, check all pipes in order to prevent
future leaks.
Your water meter can be used to detect any leaks. Turn off all sources of
water inside and outside the home. Read the water meter, wait about 15
minutes, and read it again. If the reading changes, there is a leak. Leaks are
often the result of a worn-out washer in a faucet. Replacing a washer is a
simple procedure. Even the slightest leak can cause a significant increase in
a consumer’s electric or water bill.
Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet
is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet
for worn-out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done,
since food coloring may stain the tank.)
Outdoor Water Conservation
Water your lawn between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
The sun will not evaporate the water as quickly as in the afternoon.
Use a sprinkler timer. If you don’t have one, use the kitchen timer.
Let water sink in slowly. Water applied too quickly runs off.
“Xeriscape” refers to
water-efficient landscaping.
Your landscape can be more waterefficient by utilizing the waterwise concepts of xeriscape. These
concepts have been tried and tested
by industry professionals over time.
Planning and design - Create a landscape which will be easy to maintain. Keep in mind that perennials are water-efficient. Local nurseries
are usually happy to advise customers on which plants and trees are
efficient and grow well in the area.
Soil analysis - Soil improvements allow for better absorption of water
and improve water-holding capacity of the soil. Soils that have organic
matter also provide beneficial nutrients to plants.
Well-planned sprinkler systems
save water. Landscape plantings
should be grouped according to
similar water needs. Turf is best
watered by sprinklers. Plants
and most trees can be watered
efficiently with low-volume drip or
spray. Water only when needed.
In order to keep your xeriscape
looking its best and to minimize
water waste, it is necessary to develop
and follow a maintenance plan.
Keep the landscape free of weeds.
This reduces competition for water.
Practical Turf Areas - Locate turf only in areas where it provides functional benefits. Groundcovers, low-water-demand plants, or mulches
demand less water than turf.
Appropriate Plant Selection - Many plants sold in Florida have a
xeriscape tag. Try to use these plants and trees when designing a landscape. Drought-tolerant turfs are also available.
Mulching - Mulched plant beds are an excellent replacement for turf
areas. Mulches cover and cool soil, minimizing evaporation. Using mulch
also helps reduce landfill waste.
Mowing - Set the lawn mower at the maximum height recommended
for your type of grass. Mow the grass often enough so that not more
than one-third of grass height is removed.
Mulching - Mulch around trees and flower beds. Plant beds should
have 3 inches of organic mulch. Check and add mulch periodically.
Pruning - Pruning should be done as needed to maintain the appearance and health of the landscaping plants. Prune, clip, and trim selectively according to the needs of each type of plant or tree.
Energy and water use are closely tied to an individual's
productivity, health and comfort. Too much or too little
heating, cooling, or lighting can make workers unproductive, customers unresponsive, and visitors or other
occupants uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many
ways to reduce energy and water consumption and costs without adversely affecting anyone. And
some improvements, such as reducing glare and overlighting, can actually add to health and productivity as well as saving money. Many of the tips listed in this booklet are not exclusively linked to one
resource. For example, steps you take to reduce your water usage may lower your hot water heating
costs. Other improvements you make to your home, such as adding insulation in the attic, will not
only protect your home but will also lower both your cooling and heating costs. If you have any
questions about the energy and water-saving tips we've listed, please call the Florida Public Service
Commission's Division of Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Assistance at 1-800-342-3552.
You may also want to call your local county extension office, your water management district representative, or your local utility office.
Conservation begins with you,
and the things that you do at home every day!
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