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Little steps mean big savings

Consumers care about energy because they pay for it.

To increase home and energy savings there are simple no-cost and low-cost things that you can do to save.

Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist, said there are simple things that we can do to reduce our usage without sacrificing comfort. When you use less money on energy, there is more money to spend on other things.

"The effect of burning fossil fuels on the environment is certain," Peek said. "Fossil fuels contribute to the formation of greenhouse gases, which prevent heat from escaping to space."

According to the EPA, the surface temperature on earth has been increasing.

Peek said instead of using fossil fuels without restraint, we can think about our action and take steps to use fossil fuels more wisely.

The Department of Energy reports lighting accounts for 11 percent of home energy use.

To reduce lighting costs Peek recommends using more efficient bulbs.

"Incandescent bulbs cost you a little in the short run and a lot in the long run," she said. "Compact fluorescent bulbs with the Energy Star label will cost a little more up front but will be cheaper in the long run."

The Department of Energy states that compact fluorescent bulbs will save consumers $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.

Another efficient light source is light emitting diodes or LEDs.

Peek said when you are not using lights, be sure to turn them off. If the light is not on, you are not using energy. Also be sure to keep fixtures and the light bulbs clean, dirty bulbs reduce illumination.

"Use day lighting, especially in south facing windows, to help reduce your need for artificial illumination," she said. When bulbs burn out be sure to recycle them. Visit www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling for more information.

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