Technology you can use at home to help save on energy costs
(WFSB) – Eyewitness News is continuing our week of helping you save money on your energy bill.
Two of the state’s biggest suppliers raised their rates around 40% this year.
While you can’t change the cold weather, there are some technologies you can put in your home to ease the financial burden.
Connecticut has some of the highest energy costs in the country, and by now you know that the biggest way to save money is turn off, unplug and dial back devices.
But the recent hike in costs, roughly 40%, has homeowners wondering if they can really cut back their energy usage that much.
“It’s very important that we maintain comfort in our homes. That’s the place where we feel comfortable,” said Ali Bazzi.
Bazzi is an associate professor of electrical engineering at UConn.
He’s also living proof that homeowners can take big steps to save money on their energy bill.
He installed a partial solar panel system on his own house and noticed a 50% difference right away.
“Connecticut has a pretty high electricity rate, so on average, it’s about 20 cents a kilowatt hour or so. Solar on the other hand is about 10 cents a kilowatt hour or so,” Bazzi said.
With energy prices skyrocketing in Connecticut this year, you may be hesitant to spend even more money on a solar panel system.
Fortunately, there are smaller, less expensive fixes you can put in your home to monitor your energy usage and help you cut back.
“If you tie a smart appliance or a smart device to your phone for example and it gives you notifications or an incentive, some kind of a game-like environment then it becomes a little more interesting,” said Bazzi.
He’s talking about a smart thermostat, which Bazzi said can help a homeowner save between 10 and 20-percent on heating and cooling bills.
They can be controlled remotely through an app, and some models even sense when you’re not in the room and can adjust the temperature automatically.
“They really do kind of help learn your schedule,” said Stephen Lewis.
Lewis is a member of an environmental non-profit. He’s also a homeowner who has made multiple green switches in his house from small things like smart devices to big changes like solar panels on his roof.
“I kept looking for opportunities to save money,” said Lewis.
Another way he did that was to install an inverter geothermal heat pump in his home. This drastically cut down on the amount of oil he needed to warm his house.
They do run on electric, but Lewis said the heating pump’s increased efficiency has paid off even when electricity prices are high.
“The heat pump was saving me at least a couple hundred dollars at least every heating season,” Lewis said.
Federal dollars have made them more affordable.
“There’s literally thousands and thousands of dollars that every single American citizen can take advantage of in the inflation reduction act to put in new heat pumps to put solar panels on their house,” said Lewis. “I’m going to save thousands and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of my system here in Connecticut with all those rainy cloudy and snowy days because the technology works.”
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