The famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again this year, thus forecasting six more weeks of winter. If he was right the cold weather isn’t going away anytime soon. Here are some ways to keep your house cozy and your energy costs down until spring returns.

Image of Heating icon. Typically, heating a home accounts for 30 percent of homeowner’s energy costs. Before next year’s winter, have your heating system tuned and inspected by a service professional. If you are looking to replace your furnace, look for one that’s at least 90 percent efficient. For the rest of this winter follow these simple steps to keep your heating costs down.

  • Replace your furnace filter; your furnace will run more efficiently and waste less energy.
  • Don’t block your heating ducts; keep them clear of furniture and drapes.
  • Keep your garage and exterior doors closed.
  • Insulate your attic door to stop heat from escaping.
  • Turn ceiling fans on low to push down heat that rises to the ceiling
  • Get a programmable thermostat. Turn down the heat while you’re out of the house and lower the temperature at night.

Image of Water Supply icon. Water Faucet with Blue Background.

A long, hot shower on a cold winter morning feels good but heating water for a house costs consumers up to 18 percent of their energy bill. There are energy-efficient water heaters available, but if you aren’t looking to upgrade now, follow these steps to increase your water heater’s efficiency.

  • Use less hot water:
    • Take showers instead of baths.
    • Install low-flow aerators on your faucets and shower heads.
    • Only run your clothes and dish washers when you have a full load.
    • Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. Some water heaters can be turned up much higher, but keeping it to 120 degrees could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Insulate your water heater.

Taking the time to reduce your home’s energy footprint is good for your budget and for the environment. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professionals in many careers ranging from building contractors, interior designers, architects, and property managers are working on ways to make buildings energy efficient and user friendly. The building?s design, location, and equipment offer many ways to increase energy efficiency, cut costs on operations, and reduce the building?s carbon footprint. Learn more about becoming a LEED professional and enhancing your career.