Energy Saving tips

In the last few years, Northgate has embarked on a program to reduce our energy usage. Notable among a number of improvements we implemented, was the replacement of the 15 year old insulation in the roofs with new, high R factor insulation and the replacement of the old single pane windows with brand new, highly energy-efficient windows.

In this section, we have collected a number of energy saving tips you can implement today to help keep us on the path to efficient utility usage and to ensure that we keep our fees from going up in the future.

As always, we encourage you to send in your tips on how you save energy. Any savings you bring about will be shared by all Northgate owners, thereby benefitting us all. Please send all tips to ideas@northgatecondos.org.

Electricity Saving Tips:

Electronics:

  • ENERGY STAR® computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated, so make sure power management is activated on your computer.
  • 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).
  • Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.
  • Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These "phantom" loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.
  • Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.

Washer/Dryers:

  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages. If you find that your dryer vent tubes are blocked or heavily clogged, you may contact our staff and, for a nominal labor charge, they will arrange for the tubes to be cleaned.

Heating & Cooling:

  • Install a programmable thermostat that can be adjust the temperature according to your schedule. *Note that Northgate has a very unique heating & cooling system. Technically, the HVAC system is known as a 2 Pipe Fan-Coil System. Click on the link to read more on this older technology.
  • Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.

Lighting:

  • Turn off the lights in any room you're not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
  • Consider using high-intensity discharge (also called HID) or low-pressure sodium lights.
  • An alternative to HID's are compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). One CFL light that uses only 20 watts of electricity can produce as much ambient light as a traditional bulb that uses 60 watts.
  • Use CFLs in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger CFLs.
  • Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
  • During winter, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • Recessed downlights (also called recessed cans) are now available that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated), are designed specifically for pin-based CFLs, and can be used in retrofits or new construction.
  • Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
  • Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn on or off lighting as needed and prevent energy waste.
  • Use ENERGY STAR® labeled lighting fixtures.

Assorted electricity saving tips:

  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing to retain heated air.

Water Saving Tips:

  • Shower rather than taking a bath to reduce hot water usage.
  • Run hot water only when needed when you wash, shave or brush your teeth.
  • Use the dishwasher rather than hand-washing dishes.
  • Pre-rinse dishes with cold water.
  • When doing laundry, choose cold water whenever possible.
  • If possible, set the appropriate water-level for the size of the load of laundry you will be washing. (Under-loading or overloading your washer wastes energy and costs everyone more.)