Eat more vegetables. Eat less chocolate. Exercise three times per week. Stop swearing.

New Year’s resolutions give us the opportunity to start fresh and consider changes to our habits that lead to personal improvement. But what if our personal resolutions had a bigger impact?

There’s one that can – a resolution for a more energy efficient 2017. Collectively, small changes add up to big savings, and a resolution for improved efficiency at your home could benefit not just your personal budget but also the environment.

Tips for a more efficient 2017

Make power strips work for you
Plugged-in appliances and electronics use small amounts of power even when they are turned off. This is called phantom energy use, and it can be are plugged into a power strip. According to Energy.gov you can save $100 per year by using power strips to reduce phantom load. Just be careful to never overload a power strip.

Use sunlight to help heat your home
On bright, sunny, winter days, open your blinds or curtains to let the natural light from the sun warm up your home. Be sure to close your window treatments as the sun begins to set.

Save hot water in three ways
It takes energy to heat water, and you can save energy by: 1) Adjusting your water heater’s setting to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’ve never adjusted it, chances are it is set at 140 degrees. 2) Installing low-flow showerheads, which will help not only with your energy bill for heating the water, but also with your water bill because you’ll use less! 3) Washing clothes in cold water.

Be smart about your thermostat
You can save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling per year by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day in the winter. You can set a smart or programmable thermostat to do this automatically or be diligent about your manual thermostat when you’re away from home or at night.

Understand more about your home energy use
Knowledge is power, and JOEMC’s website lets you perform an energy audit on your home so you can see just where you’re spending your energy dollars. Or, if you prefer, you can schedule a time for a co-op employee to come to your home and perform a FREE energy audit for you.