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If you’re from New England you know fall is for football, baseball, field hockey and soccer. Then there’s New England’s unofficial sport being played out in homes across our region--the age old rivalry--when to turn on the heat! Some New Englanders want to gut it out until there’s measurable snow on the ground. Others have a drop-dead date when the furnace gets turned on. Frankly, no one wants to waste money on unnecessary heating costs and that’s why energy efficiency is New Englanders’ best play.

Heating costs are just part of the equation. With the days getting noticeably shorter, the lights are coming on earlier and staying on longer. That’s why it’s so important to make the switch to LED lights that use a tiny fraction of the electricity compared with those old fashion light bulbs. And here’s some good news for the frugal folks amongst us—when you sign up for a no-cost Mass Save home energy assessment, the energy efficiency expert coming to your home will replace your old light bulbs with new LED bulbs. No-cost LED light bulbs that use much less electricity? Score!

As part of your home energy assessment, when the energy efficiency specialist comes to your home he’ll inspect everything from the basement, to the attic and every room in between, making sure your home is buttoned up against the cold. The inspection report you’ll receive will even show how efficiently your appliances are running. They may even do some necessary on–the-spot air sealing. Also, once you get the home energy assessment, you can qualify for a host of energy efficiency programs and rebates that can vastly improve your home’s comfort as well as save significant money on your energy bill.

Water heating accounts for close to 20 percent of your home's energy use, which is money going down the drain. So, before you take that long, hot shower, consider installing low-flow fixtures to help reduce how much hot water you’re using and remember to turn down the thermostat on your water heater. Most folks agree 120 degrees is hot enough to still be comfortable. As part of your Mass Save home energy assessment, you’ll receive a low flow showerhead at no cost. Also, choosing an energy efficient water heater for your home can help reduce your monthly water heating bills.

When it comes to using hot water when doing the laundry, for many of us old habits die hard. However, washing machines and laundry detergent have been vastly improved over the years. Nowadays, machines use much less water and detergents can get clothes clean in cold water. Heating the water accounts for about 90 percent of the energy needed to run a washer, according to EnergyStar.gov, so use less hot water and save much more energy. It’s always good advice to look for the ENERGY STAR label is you’re in the market for a new, energy efficient washing machine or other appliance. Appliances that earn the ENERGY STAR label can help families cut their related energy and water costs. ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers use about 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than regular washers.

This is the time of year when it’s all about sports here in New England.  Using energy efficiency as your defense when the furnace kicks-in, or when it’s time to wash those dirty uniforms, is also your best offense!

If you're a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with Bill, please call Rhiannon D'Angelo (617-424-2116) in Eastern Mass. or Priscilla Ress (413-787-1055) in Western Mass.