You have the Power to Use Less

It’s never easy to change your living habits, but just a few changes could lower your electric usage considerably.

Remember: It's not the size of the house that matters, it's the electrical usage habits of the occupants in conjunction with the age and number of electrical appliances.

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  • Use a timer when plugging in cars
  • Turn off lights and use energy efficient bulbs
  • Turn off electronics when not in use
  • Use a warm blanket instead of space heaters
  • Clean filters (furnace and dryer lint screen)
  • Turn off computers when not in use
  • Minimize heat tape use




Note:  Foam insulating gaskets (switch and outlet), circuit breaker labels and outlet safety caps are available at all three of the GVEA lobbies and are free to our members.


Take advantage of GVEA's Home$ense program; schedule a Home$ense Audit.

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GVEA's Home$ense Energy Audit is a great way to find out where your home uses the most energy and how to cut back. You'll receive many tips and tricks, as well as some items to help you on your way.



More Ways to Save

We've compiled a list of 20 ways to save. It's by no means all inclusive, but it will get you started. We encourage you to check out the Room-by-Room Energy Saving Checklist for a more detailed list of low-cost or no-cost energy saving ideas.

Electric Heater1. Use a timer when plugging in your vehicle

Interior Alaska's air quality that becomes polluted by cold vehicle exhaust. GVEA and the Fairbanks North Star Borough recommend plugging in at 20° above zero. Most cars only need 3 to 4 hours per night (5 to 6 hours for diesels). Find out how much it costs plug in your vehicle. 

2. Switch your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

It may not seem like a big deal, but the numbers are in: a CFL uses about a quarter of the energy as an incandescent bulb. Disposal & Mercury FAQ

3. Use electric heaters sparingly

A 1,500-watt electric heater left on for just a few hours each day costs about $30 per month. That's $1 per day.

4. Visit to find out how the little changes add up

TogetherWeSaveTourTogether We Save is a national campaign designed to help members make small changes that add up to big savings on their energy bills. Take their customized Home Tour to find out how the little things add up.

5. Schedule a Home$ense Audit with GVEA

GVEA's Home$ense Energy Audit is a great way to find out where your home uses the most energy and how to cut back. You'll receive many tips and tricks, as well as some items to help you on your way.

6. Plug all of your electronic accessories into a Smart Strip

Did you know many appliances suck electricity even when they are turned off? These are called "phantom appliances." Do away with the phantoms by plugging them into a Smart Strip. Watch a video about how they work.

7. Replace aging appliances with more energy efficient Energy Star modelsrefrigerator

In Alaska, it's common to have a second refrigerator or freezer in the garage. If it is a pre-2001 model, chances are it's not very efficient. When the time comes to replace it, make sure to do so with an energy-efficient model.

Note: Touchstone Energy wrote an excellent article about a new Appliance Rebates Finder database. Click here to read that article.  To go directly to the Appliance Rebates Finder available on the Co-op Connections' web site, click here.

8. Turn off computers when not in use

Computers are infamous for sucking energy when they appear to be "off." Don't just put the computer in "sleep mode," turn it off.

9. Check out our Room-By-Room Energy Saving Checklist

Use this checklist to find out where you can save the most energy in your home. It's full of no-cost or low-cost ideas.

10. Install foam insulators behind outlets and switchplates

If you run your hand in front of an outlet or switchplate that's positioned on an outside wall, you may notice a draft. You can block the draft by installing foam insulators. They can be found at most hardware stores, as well as in the GVEA lobby.

11. Clean refrigerator coils every three months

Pet hair, human hair, dust and more can get wrapped around the refrigerator coils making your refrigerator less efficient. Use a long brush to clean the coils quarterly.

12. Pull out the Crockpot

Countertop appliances consume less energy than built-in appliances. To research this topic more, the following link will provide more info on the cost of operating average household appliances.

13. Keep the electric water heater temperature at the lowest recommended setting

A good setting for a water heater is 120°F. If water is too hot, then you usually need to blend it with cold water, which, ultimately, is a waste of energy.

14. Use cold water to wash clothes, and air-dry the items you don't need immediately

Dryers aren't efficient. If you do use a dryer, be sure you hang the items immediately to eliminate the need for ironing.

15. Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator

Placing a frozen food item in the refrigerator to thaw is like placing a free block of ice in the fridge. While that added coolness is n the fridge, the appliance doesn't have to work as hard. Plan ahead, since it will take a day or two for the food to completely thaw.Programmable Thermostat

16. Turn down the thermostat

Just six degrees can save up to 20 percent on your heating bill. Better yet, use a programmable thermostat. If you're a little chlly, put on a sweater.

17. Use lined or insulated drapes on your windows

These are great year-round. They're generally good at blocking the sun on our long summer nights when you are trying to sleep, and they keep the heat in during the winter.

18. Take quick showers instead of baths

And use a low-flow showerhead. Don't worry, the water pressure won't change, but your water bill will.

19. Turn off the lights when not in use

Have you heard this one before?

20. Combine different food dishes in the oven. 

For example, if you need to cook one dish at 375°F and another at 325°F, set the oven at 350°F and adjust the cooking times accordingly.