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As we head back to school, adopt these energy saving habits
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By now, we’ve begun to (mostly) accept that summer is over. Kids are back at school; days are growing shorter and the leaves on trees are turning shades of orange and red. 

The change of season might be a little hard to stomach, especially as the warm weather fades into the chill of fall. But this can be a great time to make some changes in your life and routines. For instance, why not try some new things that will help the planet and help you save money on your energy costs?

At Black Hills Energy, energy efficiency and sustainability are never far from our thoughts. We love finding easy ways to improve energy efficiency for our customers and for our company.

Here are six ideas for adding sustainability into your family’s life as we shift into fall and winter.
 

  • 1. Change thermostat settings. Did you know that you can save as much as 10% annually on energy bills simply by setting your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees during the daytime hours? Just program your thermostat to 68 degrees at night and when you leave the house each morning. You won’t even notice, and you’ll be saving money. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, check out our energy efficiency programs to see if you’re eligible for a rebate when you purchase one. One disclaimer: The savings will be greater in milder climates.
     
  • 2. Choose reusable food storage for your children’s school lunches. We understand - single serve foods are convenient and easy. You can grab a yogurt, a fruit cup or a single serving bag of chips, toss it into your child’s lunch bag and you’re all set. But it’s important to remember that each single-serving container will end up in a landfill or recycling center. Instead, choose reusable containers. It might take a bit longer, but you’ll be saving on waste and making your routine more environmentally sound. Plus, you’ll be teaching your children the importance of reducing waste. Dig into our Sustainability Report for more on how Black Hills Energy is focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability.
     
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  • 3. Choose energy efficient cooking tools such as slow cookers. Slow cookers still require electricity, but much less than an oven. For instance, a modern slow cooker uses as little as 150 watts per hour if set on low. Plus, slow cookers are super convenient. Just chop up all the ingredients, throw them into the slow cooker and head out the door. Try out this yummy Slow Cooker Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from our Black Hills Energy Service Guard cookbook. (Page 19)
     
  • 4. Unplug.  Some devices use electricity when left plugged in, including videogame consoles and laptops. Unplug devices once they are charged or when you’re done using them.
     
  • 5. Turn off the engine. For a lot of families, picking up the children from school at the end of the day is part of the school-year routine. It can be hard to avoid the dreaded after-school pickup line, with vehicles lining the curb outside schools. Instead of sitting with your vehicle idling during this time, turn it off. An idling vehicle uses gas and can be hard on engines during hot temperatures.
     
  • 6. Use LED light bulbs. Heading into fall and winter is also a great time to switch out those incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs. Customers in some states can even take advantage of our LED lighting rebates to get the job done.

This is also a great time to consider switching over to Black Hills Energy’s self-service options. If you’re like most people, you have plenty to think about without trying to remember when bills are due. Let us take the burden off your plate. You can sign up for paperless bills, notifications and alerts, online payments and more. It’s easy and convenient. Plus, paperless bills are just one more way to reduce waste.

Check out our energy savings page for more tips to save energy and money and get details about our energy efficiency rebate programs. Now is the perfect time. Get started today and begin thinking about ways to spend your savings.

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