St. Patrick’s Day is a fitting occasion for wearing green, but every day presents opportunities to try to live green. OUC – The Reliable One offers the following simple but cost-effective suggestions for reducing energy and water consumption in everyday life:

  1. Switch to LEDs – If you’re still lighting your home with the yellow glow of incandescent lightbulbs, it’s time to join the worldwide movement to light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. According to, “Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States.” Yes, LEDs cost more than the traditional lightbulb but they also last much, much longer and pay for themselves in energy savings.
  2. Wash clothes in cold water and hang them to dry — According to the Alliance to Save Energy, heating the water in your washing machine accounts for 90 percent of the energy used to wash that load. ENERGY STAR® guidelines estimate that the average household can save $30 to $40 a year by washing clothes in cold water. The U.S. Department of Energy also suggests waiting to wash until you have a full load — and hang them up to dry.
  3. Set AC to 78 Degrees — A thermostat set at 76 degrees will use up to 15 percent more energy to power air conditioner than it would at 78 degrees.
  4. Use a Programmable thermostat — According to the Alliance to Save Energy, upgrading your thermostat to a newer programmable model can save you up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs.
  5. Turn Off Lights, Appliances and Electronics — You’ll want to keep refrigerators and freezers on, but other appliances and electronics sitting idle do not need to be consuming electricity. The Small Business Administration says 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are switched off.
  6. Invest in Routine Maintenance — Keep your HVAC system and water heater in top condition with regularly scheduled maintenance. Properly maintained equipment runs more efficiently and lasts longer.
  7. Use Natural AC —Open windows when outdoor temperatures are mild and turn on ceiling fans in rooms with people. Pull down shades to keep sunlight from heating up your house.
  8. Check Toilets — A leaking toilet can waste 90,000 gallons of water in 30 days! To check for silent leaks, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank after it has filled. If coloring shows up in the bowl without flushing, you probably have a leak in or around the flapper valve.
  9. And Faucets, Too — Worn washers are the biggest cause of faucet leaks.
  10. Follow Lawn-Watering Rules — OUC customers whose addresses end in even numbers water on Thursdays and Sundays; those with odd numbered addresses on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Watering lawns between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is prohibited.

OUC offers myriad residential rebates for efficiency upgrades and free conservation audits through our Efficiency Delivered® program, which provides up to $2,500 of energy and water efficiency improvements for eligible customers. Call 407.423.9018 for more information.