MADISON, Ala. – You may be seeing the zero's add on to your utility bill now that we're in the thick of summer, but you don't have to let the sun burn into your finances.
There are big projects you can do on your home to become more energy efficient and there are small things you can do to keep your bill from going up with the temperature.
"You want to make sure in the summer that your fans are going down so the airflow is going counter-clockwise," said Anne Wood, community outreach and education coordinator at Nexus Energy Center.
Looking head-on, the house outside the Nexus building might look like your house… It’s not. But it could run the same way.
"It's the most sustainable tiny home in the state of Alabama," Wood said "So that's exciting!"
This teaching tool is proof you can be cost efficient and energy efficient at the same time.
"You can talk to me all day long about energy efficient measures for my house but until I see it operating and can see that it's actually functioning and comfortable and cute I'm probably not going to believe you," said Wood. "I feel like a lot of people are like that so you really get to level with people and talk to them one-on-one about their needs."
Wood says if your wallet is getting a workout, first check your insulation and your air filters.
“The fiberglass and the cellulose both are gonna condense over time so anything that’s below here or here,” she said, pointing to a ruler on the insulation. “Depending on what you have, it’s gonna start affecting your utility bill.”
She says about 30 percent of a home's heating energy goes out the window. And for every degree over 72 degrees on your thermostat you save three percent of your cooling expenses.
"I think a lot of times people think of energy efficiency as sacrificing something," Wood said. "It's either too expensive or it doesn't work as well or it's not as powerful or whatever. But really when you turn on that mini-split, I mean it gets cool in there really, really quickly."
Going green can save you green, but you don't have to go big to be energy efficient.
“It’s really a good way to break the barriers and kind of break some of the stereotypes that people have about energy efficiency,” Wood said. “Because at the end of the day we want to make people more comfortable, we want to save people more money, and obviously we want to save the planet. So that’s kind of the end game with the tiny green home.”
Wood says grilling out can help reduce costs. Kitchens are full of appliances that produce heat and make your AC work harder to cool things down
You can also look into getting a low flow water fixture that can cut water consumption by 40 percent and can cost under $10.
Nexus Energy Center also works with CASA of Madison County to do free energy efficient upgrades to those in need. See them at Play Days at Hays and a Community Awareness for Youth event in coming weeks.