Lessons learned in 2014Late December is always the perfect time to look back and reflect on the year gone by – the things you learned, the great times you had and so on. While you ponder over what you’ve experienced over the last year, you should take some time to consider these energy-saving lessons that we learned in 2014.

Fixed-rate bills can protect you from energy rate hikes

Remember the polar vortex that gripped most of the country in the early part of 2014? That extreme cold snap showed energy producers and consumers alike that it pays to be prepared for anything. In many states, the cold caused demand for energy to rise with prices shooting up along with it, leaving many home and business owners to take on the burden of massive energy bills.

Forward-thinking homeowners who had signed up for fixed-rate energy bills before the cold set in, however, did not suffer the same effects. They were able to lock in one price that protected them from rate hikes, making their bills totally predictable.

You don’t need to break the bank to be more energy efficient

When we hear about energy efficiency, it’s often about things like natural gas retrofits, renewables, new windows and doors and other big home upgrades. The problem with these is that they require a considerable upfront investment, leaving them out of reach for many homeowners.

But it turns out that you don’t need to spend a fortune to start saving money on your energy bills. Things like LED lights, space heaters, caulking, fireplace balloons and other energy-saving products can be had for a fairly low price and will last you a long time – all while saving you money and paying themselves off over time.

The greatest energy efficiency upgrade you can make is to your habits

What gets lost in all the talk about energy efficient products is that none of them really make much of a difference unless the people living inside the home change their electricity consumption habits.

This means doing things like making sure that all lights are off when an area isn’t in use, only using dishwashers, washing machines and dryers when you have a full load ready, using the microwave to cook whenever possible and so on. These are small changes you can make that will have a big impact on your energy bill each month.

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