Easy steps to lower your home heating costs

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If you live in an area where the autumn season brings chilly temperatures, here are some tips to help save on your heating bill.

Insulate your walls and ceilings adequately.This can save 20 to 30 percent on home heating bills. Have an inspection by a qualified technician if you’ve not looked at your insulation for quite some time. Insulation will compress and shift over time which reduces its effectiveness.

Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows.Caulking costs less than $1 per window, and weather stripping is under $10 per door.

Close drapes and window coverings at night. This will reduce the heat lost through windows. During the day, open drapes and coverings to allow the sun to radiantly heat your home.

Use Ceiling Fans to utilize heat more efficiently
Heat rises and much of the heat loss in your home is through the ceiling. Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse their direction. As you enter the heating season, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans and set them on low. This will better mix the warm and cool air in your home and slow the rate of heat escaping through the ceiling. Ceiling fans do not use much electricity and this will result in a net energy savings.

There are also several low or no cost steps that can be taken to lower the cost of heating commercial buildings. Find out more at gundersenenvision.org.

Don’t turn on the heat just yet

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Fall is just around the corner and that means cooler weather is on the way. Try these energy and money saving tips before you crank up the heat for the first time.

Insulate your walls and ceilings adequately.This can save 20 to 30 percent on home heating bills. Have an inspection by a qualified technician if you’ve not looked at your insulation for quite some time. Insulation will compress and shift over time which reduces its effectiveness.

Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows.Caulking costs less than $1 per window, and weather stripping is under $10 per door.

Close drapes and window coverings at night. This will reduce the heat lost through windows. During the day, open drapes and coverings to allow the sun to radiantly heat your home.

Use Ceiling Fans to utilize heat more efficiently
Heat rises and much of the heat loss in your home is through the ceiling. Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse their direction. As you enter the heating season, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans and set them on low. This will better mix the warm and cool air in your home and slow the rate of heat escaping through the ceiling. Ceiling fans do not use much electricity and this will result in a net energy savings.

There are also several low or no cost steps that can be taken to lower the cost of heating commercial buildings. Find out more at gundersenenvision.org.

Turn cow waste into energy

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Manure digester projects produce biogas methane that can be used to create clean, renewable electricity and heat. In addition, these facilities can also help with water table contamination issues and provide benefits for agricultural operations. After the digestion process, the solids and liquids are commonly separated. An additional benefit and revenue stream can be created by composting the solids into a fiber byproduct that can be sold as a soil amendment for a number of landscaping and fertilizing applications.

To achieve desired specifications for the compost customers requires turning windrows of the solid fiber on a regular basis until it is ready for sale. Microbes feeding on the material create heat within the mass. As the windows are turned, heat is released and the material is aerated for optimal efficiency in the process.

The photo on the left shows a self-propelled compost turner and the photo on the right shows the turner moving through a window. Agricultural and livestock operations may be good sources of biomass that can be utilized in a productive manner to create clean electricity with local, renewable resources, and create unique partnerships with multiple economic and environmental benefits.

Click here to read about Envision’s dairy biogas project.