Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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How to conserve energy

Click here for more PRIDE Re-Energized information

When you look into ways to use energy wisely, you likely will get a sense of how important conservation and efficiency are these days. From utilities to nonprofits to government agencies, programs abound to guide and assist you.

Step 1: Call your utilities

The best place to start is a call to your electric and gas companies. Just say you want to save money, and you likely will be amazed by the amount of assistance available. The programs tend to be free or low cost, and they may even offset your costs for making improvements. Check your utility bills to find the phone numbers and call today!

Conserving at home

To start, consider the tips below for your home. (Many of these tips also apply to other settings, such as offices.) To go further, explore the resources listed after the tips.

Tips for Heating and Cooling

  • Always run your HVAC fan on auto
  • Replace your HVAC filter monthly
  • Set your thermostat on 78 degrees F in the summer and 68 degrees F in the winter
  • Install and use a programmable thermostat
  • Check your heating and cooling systems regularly to ensure proper operation
  • Seal air leaks around your doors and windows and in your HVAC duct work

Tips for Appliances and Lighting

  • Turn off unnecessary lighting and devices
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Unplug devices that drain energy even when not in use (phone chargers, TVs, printers, etc.)
  • When appliances need to be replaced, look for the ENERGY STAR label (see energystar.gov)

Tips for Water Heating

  • Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120 degrees F
  • Install a thermal wrap on your water heater per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Use cold water for most laundry loads

Tips for Refrigeration

  • Set your refrigerator temperature to 34 degrees – 37 degrees F and freezer temperature to 0 degrees – 5 degrees F
  • Clean your refrigerator coils annually


  • TogetherWeSave.com: Calculate the energy and dollars you will save based on the changes you are willing to make around your home
  • SimpleSavings.coop: Download brief how-to guides for easy ways to save money and energy while creating a more comfortable, healthy place to live (also for church, commercial and industrial facilities)
  • EnergySavers.gov: Find quick tips, resources and assistance programs on all aspects of energy conservation for your home and vehicle
  • KentuckyHomePerformance.com: Apply for rebates or below-market loans to implement energy-efficiency improvements to your home
  • Residential Tax Incentives: Visit energy.ky.gov/Programs/Pages/Homeowners.aspx

Conserving at school

A 2008 state law (KRS 160.325) requires Kentucky’s public school districts to respond to rising energy costs by managing their various uses of energy. Schools are supported in this effort by a network of partners, described below.

SEMP (School Energy Managers Project)

  • Administered by the Kentucky School Boards Association
  • Pays a portion of the salary for a district-level energy manager, who coordinates the district’s energy efficiency and sustainability programs
  • Web: http://www.ksba.org/SEMP.aspx

Re-Energized with SEMP: Jackson County Schools

• District saved 11% ($46,521) on energy costs in ’10/’11

• Actions taken include energy audits at each school, temperature setbacks for heating (68o) and cooling (75o), programmable thermostats, monthly utility bill reviews, rate reviews/adjustments, energy-efficient gym lighting (with that cost offset by utility rebates)

• Formed a District Energy Team and Student Energy Teams at each school

Report by Diane Wombles, SEMP Energy Manager for Clay, Jackson and Leslie County Schools

KEEPS (Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools)

  • Administered by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center at the University of Louisville
  • Provides technical consulting services to all public school districts, which supports SEMP managers
  • Services include conducting school energy assessments, and training and assisting energy managers
  • Web: louisville.edu/kppc/keeps

Kentucky NEED (National Energy Education Development) Project

  • Part of a national nonprofit organization that develops energy curriculum
  • Services include energy workshops for teachers, grade-appropriate curriculum materials, kits for classroom energy activities and assisting student energy teams to study school’s energy use
  • Web: www.need.org/states/kentucky

Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools

  • Administered by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council
  • An inquiry-based program that uses the entire school complex as a learning laboratory and recognizes students for developing and implementing improvement projects in nine areas
  • Web: www.greenschools.ky.gov

Conserving in the workplace


  • Set the energy-saving feature on computers, monitors, printers, copiers, etc., and then turn off this equipment at day’s end
  • Minimize energy usage during peak demand hours from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Consider timers for outdoor signs so they only run until 1 a.m.


  • Your Utilities: Electric and gas companies typically offer commercial rebates for replacing or retrofitting existing equipment with energy-efficient models
  • www.energystar.gov/buildings: Many resources, including energy management guidelines and building certification process. Look for the “Get Started” links for government, healthcare, hospitality/entertainment, industrial, retail, small business and congregations. Click “Portfolio Manager” for a free program to track and asses your energy consumption.
  • EnergySavers.gov/your_workplace: The U.S. Department of Energy offers tips and assistance programs for small businesses, offices, commercial buildings, farms and churches
  • Commercial Tax Credit: Tax deductions are available for improving energy efficiency of existing commercial buildings in Kentucky. Call: 502.564.7192
  • Industrial Technology Program: This government program leads the effort to increase energy efficiency of U.S. industry through technology. Visit: energy.ky.gov/Programs/Pages/Industry.aspx

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