In our energy efficiency series of articles featured each Thursday, we provide strategies or information on how to make your new home energy efficient and comfortable.

Energy efficiency is not only achieved by efficient building techniques. Changing day-to-day habits or minimizing a home’s energy consumption while away on vacation can have dramatic effects on energy consumption as well. This article includes just a few simple steps to save energy while on vacation…

Now that vacation season has begun, that long-awaited summer getaway is just around the corner. Before heading out the door, ComEd reminds customers to include one last important item on the summer vacation checklist: home energy savings.

“Electronics and appliances such as refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, TVs and computers account for about 30 percent of the annual energy consumption in a typical home,” said Maryl Freestone, ComEd Energy Doctor. Customers should also consider ways they can minimize energy usage during their vacation this summer and save money on the next electricity bill.

ComEd encourages customers to budget a few minutes during final vacation preparations to make sure electricity is efficiently used while away by following a few easy tips:

Check the refrigerator and set the temperature to 38 degrees. If you are going on a longer vacation, unplug the refrigerator, remove all contents, clean the inside and prop open the freezer and refrigerator doors.

Turn the lights off while you’re away. If home security is a concern, set a few lights on a timer or have a trusted friend periodically check your home. For longer-term savings, replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy saving CFLs to save more than $40 in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

Unplug equipment that doesn’t need to stay on, including computers and TVs. Electronic equipment and cords plugged into active outlets consume electricity even when not in use. Approximately 40 percent of electricity used to power consumer electronics is used when they are turned off.

Set your home thermostat at a higher temperature. Switching your home thermostat to 80 degrees instead of turning it off completely keeps home humidity levels lower and prevents mold and mildew.

Close your shades and curtains. Doing this helps to prevent adding heat to your home, stabilizes your home temperature and reduces electricity usage for home cooling.

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Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.