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Energy Trust of Oregon shares tips to keep the 'green' in your home during Gresham Green Business meeting

Reduce energy usage, save on bills

With so many people spending more time at home than ever before, energy bills are jumping through the roof.

Luckily the experts with the Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving money and reducing environmental footprints, visited Gresham virtually for coffee and "green" energy saving tips. The meeting was part of the monthly Gresham Green Business Coffee Hour.

The biggest energy drain in residential homes is heating and cooling, which accounts for 41% of bills. Homeowners can maintain and clean filters regularly to help furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners work at peak efficiency. Ceiling fans can help push hot air down in the winter and keep things circulating and cooler in the summer.

In homes with little floor insulation, putting a rug on bare floors retains heat. Homes can be heated in the winter with help from the sun by leaving window shades or blinds open during the daytime. Closing window coverings at night keeps the heat in.

Better care with appliances and electronics can also help reduce bills. Unplug battery chargers for phones, tablets and laptops when not in use. Portable and handheld devices use energy even when not actively charging. Cooking with a countertop convection, microwave or slow cooker uses less energy than a full-size stove or oven. Let hot foods cool before putting them in the fridge or freezer. Make sure your fridge seals are tight — put a dollar bill in the door and try to pull it out, which should be difficult if the appliance is sealed properly.

Weather stripping on drafty doors and windows keeps conditioned air inside. You can also caulk small holes and cracks around ducts, pipes, exhaust fans, vents, sink and bathtub drains, fireplaces and under countertops to keep air inside.

For more energy saving tips and to get a free energy score for your home, visit

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