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Mild Winter To End? Some Energy-Saving Tips

January 9, 2007

Minnesota's mild winter so far is keeping home energy bills down, but there are ways to lower them even more, according to Keith Butcher with the Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment. He explains one winner is to switch to a fluorescent light bulb, for two reasons.

"One, it uses a seventh of the energy that the standard light bulb does. The second is they have a lot longer lifetime, so you won't be replacing bulbs as often."

He says the fluorescent bulbs generate light without the heat of standard light bulbs, and although they might cost a bit more, they save money over their lifetime.

He adds other ways to save energy in the home this winter:

"Make sure that the insulation is good enough to seal any attic bypasses that you might have. Just do some general air-sealing around the house, and the other big thing is turning things off. There's no reason to leave lights on or TVs on in a room that nobody's in at the moment."

Also look for the "Energy Star" label on equipment, which indicates it's energy-efficient. Consider a home-energy audit, and, if available, buy power generated from sources such as the wind or sun. Forecasters say Minnesota could be back to more traditional winter weather soon, so energy bills could spike.

More online at www.mncee.org .

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN