Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Take advantage of natural sunlight and keep your energy costs down with these tips

Daylight Savings Time ended Nov. 3, and that means longer, colder nights are ahead. Daylight Savings Time was adopted in much of the U.S. to reduce electricity use in buildings during the summer months. But when DST ends, the sun doesn't have to set on lower electricity bills.

Local experts with Window World, an American replacement window and exterior remodeling company, shares Window World's Budget Saving Time guide to help families take advantage of natural sunlight and keep their energy costs down.

Here are six easy ways homeowners can cut down the costs of their energy bill:

1. Design with daylight. The sun's stint is shorter these days, so you want to soak up as much sunlight as you can — even when inside. South-facing windows allow most winter sunlight into the home. North-facing windows bring in relatively even amounts of natural light. East- and west-facing windows are bright sources of light during either the morning or afternoon, but they don't contribute much to solar heating.

2. Energy-efficient lighting is a bright idea. Choose bulbs that have the Energy Star label. It means they meet strict energy-efficient guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Consider using timers or dinners that will save electricity by turning off lights automatically or offering lower light levels. Get in the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room.

3. Win big with window coverings. Soak up as much sun as possible by keeping drapes open on south-facing windows during the day and closing them at night. According to the US Department of Energy, when drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room by up to 10%.

4. Do a double (or triple) take on your windows. Consider installing double- or triple-pane windows that have high-performance glass. The air, or in some cases, gases, in between the windowpanes acts as extra insulation.

5. Look out for air leaks. Check for air leaks around windows, doors and pipes. Many of these areas can be filled with caulk or special coverings.

6. Get with the (temperature) program. Install a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures from getting too hot or cold when you're not at home. It might be tempting to crank up the heat as the days get cooler, but the lower the temperature is inside a house, the slower the heat loss.

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