{diy with style} My Top 3 Energy Saving Tips + A HUGE CONTEST

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lennox® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Our utility company recently started sending a monthly report that not only graphs our own energy usage against prior periods, it also illustrates how our usage compares to the average use in our neighborhood. I learned that our natural gas usage is below average compared to others in our area, but our electricity usage is slightly above average. Of course, this got me thinking about easy ways that we could be more energy efficient.

To be honest, I wasn't surprised by our above average electricity usage. Our energy bills went up after I started staying home with my two young sons. When I worked full time, very little energy got used at our house during the day light hours. But now the boys and I are in the house all the time, using lights, appliances, electronics, and running the air conditioning to keep the house comfortable during the hottest parts of the day.

Even though I wasn't surprised to learn that we were using more electricity than our average neighbor, seeing it graphed out in black and white really got me thinking about how we could save more energy. The folks over at Lennox®, the company that produces the most efficient air conditioner on the market, have had the same question on their minds this summer, and they came up with some pretty creative energy-saving ideas. They conducted a survey and learned that 26% of people would rather walk around in their underwear to stay cool than spend money on air conditioning.

Energy Saving Superstar Contest

I think my preschool age sons would fully embrace stripping down to stay cool, but somehow I just don't see that working for our whole family. Although it would have the added benefit of also cutting down on laundry as well. And that would save even more energy. Hmmm...maybe that 26% is on to something after all!

While we haven't gone quite as far as the underwear method of energy-savings just yet, there are a few things we do every day to save energy in our home, and today I'm sharing my top three tips with you. But I also know there is a lot more we could be doing, which is why I want to hear YOUR best energy saving tips.

Lennox® wants to hear your tips as well! At the end of this post I'll tell you how you can enter the Lennox® Energy Savings Superstar Contest where your summer energy saving tips will get you a chance to win $10,000 in Lennox® heating and air conditioning equipment and more! 

Keep the Shades Closed During the Hottest Part of the Day

Our house is south facing, which means we get sun throughout the day. This is great in many ways, especially in the winter when it helps to quickly melt the snow from our sidewalks and grass. But it also means that the sun can really heat up the house, and every time the house heats up, our air conditioning kicks on, using more energy.

We are lucky to have two large trees in front of our house that provide a lot of shade during certain hours of the day, but I've learned that keeping our shades closed when the sun is shining directly on the windows helps to keep the temperature in the house from rising, allowing me to keep the house at a comfortable temperature without relying as much on our AC unit.

Of course, no one wants to feel like they are shut up in a dark house on a beautiful sunny day. That's why I love my solar shades so much. They cut a lot of the sun and heat, but still allow us to see outside during the day. I can even watch the boys playing in the backyard while I work in the kitchen without having to open the solar shades.

Install Digital Timer Light Switches

We are fortunate to have a small covered porch that shields our front door from the weather, but the two outdoor lights on the front of the house {on either side of the porch} didn't provide any light near the front door. Our porch was very dark at night, which never felt safe to me. We always wound up leaving the chandelier in our entryway on all night long so it could shine through the windows, providing at least a little light on the porch.

Not only was leaving our nine-light chandelier on all night, every night, not at all energy efficient, it really didn't solve the problem - the porch was still too dark. Finally, we installed a light fixture near the front doors that shines light both up and down, filling the covered porch with light at night and making our home safer.

One problem remained, though. Especially in the winter, when it gets dark early, we often wound up turning the porch lights on during daylight hours in order to ensure that we wouldn't be returning home to a dark house at night. Clearly that wasn't very cost-effective or energy efficient! 

After doing some research, we discovered that we could install digital timer light switches to solve this problem. You simply program the time and set your time zone, then the smart little computer inside the switch knows what time the sun rises and sets in your region, and turns lights on and off accordingly. It even automatically adjusts for daylight savings. Of course, you can program it further if you want your lights to turn on and off at times that don't correspond with dusk and dawn. 

We installed these digital timer switches to control all of our outdoor lights. While we want the light on our front porch to stay on all night for safety, we have other outdoor lights set to go off around the time we go to bed. We were able to quickly and easily program each timer switch according to our preferences, but any time we want to, we can also manually turn the lights on and off using the push button switch below the digital display.

These digital timer light switches allow us to save a lot of energy because now the lights are only on when necessary. We are no longer wasting energy by leaving lights on during daylight hours, either before dusk or after sunrise.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

I've been washing most of our clothes in cold water for as long as I can remember. I first started using cold water for laundry because hot water can set in stubborn stains, and also because cold water prevents colors from fading and reduces the likelihood of clothes shrinking. It was only later that it occurred to me that I was also saving energy at the same time!

Studies I've read suggest that up to 90 percent of the energy used doing a load of laundry is spent heating the water. By washing clothes in cold water instead, you save both energy and money while keeping your clothes looking good longer.

Energy saving tips for families
Energy Savings Superstar Contest

Ok, so now that I've shared a few tips that we use to save energy around our house, Lennox® and I want to hear from you. If you share your best energy saving tips with me in the comments below, I'll feature them in a post next week. If you share them with Lennox®, well, let's just say that the prizes they are offering are a whole lot more exciting!

Energy Saving Superstar Contest

Lennox® helps you save energy by offering the most advanced, smart and efficient HVAC systems on the market, like the unique Ultimate Comfort System™ with the quietest air conditioner you can buy, the XC25 {Dealer Locator}. While Lennox® works hard to provide the most energy efficient HVAC systems, they also believe that energy saving shouldn't stop there. That's why they want to hear your best tips for conserving energy during the hot summer months.

You can enter the Lennox® Energy Savings Superstar Contest by clicking on the link and submitting your best energy saving tip along with a photo that illustrates your energy savings in action. Be creative - energy savings doesn't have to be boring! The deadline to enter is August 31, 2016. Four finalists will be chosen and users can vote on their favorite to determine the winner. The winner will be announced on September 28, 2016. 

The winner will receive... wait for it... drum roll please...
  • $10,000 in Lennox® heating and air conditioning equipment
  • A year supply of ice cream
  • Tickets to the closest local water park
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Canada (excluding Quebec) U.S. (DC) the age of majority in their jurisdiction. Ends 8/31/2016. For Prize info and Official Rules visit:http://static.lennox.com/pdfs/legal/OfficialContestRules2016-FINAL.pdf Sponsor: Lennox®. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. (Official Contest Rules)

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  1. I love those digital light timers! Can you tell us more about the brand and where to get them?

    1. Absolutely, Bonnie! You can read all about them in this post: http://www.blueistyleblog.com/2014/05/LetThereBePorchLightWithDigitalTimerSwitches.html