Hidalgo County Texas
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Green Initiatives
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SPACE COOLING
Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.

Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.

COMPUTER and ELECTRONICS
Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.

Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use—TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
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LIGHTING
Replacing 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year. For the greatest savings, replace your old incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR-qualified bulbs.

Keep your curtains or shades open to use day lighting instead of turning on lights. For more privacy, use light-colored, loose-weave curtains to allow daylight into the room. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.

REFRIGERATION
The Energy Guide label on new refrigerators tells you how much electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) a particular model uses in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses and the less it will cost you to operate. In addition to the Energy Guide label, don’t forget to look for the ENERGY STAR label. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label uses at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.
   
REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER ENERGY TIPS
Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37°-40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.

Check the refrigerator temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. Check the
freezer temperature by placing a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.

Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the
refrigerator.

If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you may consider buying a new unit.

Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
   
WET CLEANING
Air dry clothes.

Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.

Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.

Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.

SPACE HEATING
Seal Air leaks

Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.

Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month.

WATER HEATING
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.

Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.

Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.