Energy use spikes during first week of school

The first week of school could mean higher energy bills for families, according to TXU Energy.

The average Texas family used 11 percent more electricity during the first week of school last year compared with a summer week at the start of August, according to data from the electricity provider.

The research was based on families in North Texas and could have been the result of several factors, but it likely had to do with school-related morning habits, TXU said.

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To cut down on energy use, the company suggested some tips for lower electricity consumption.

Families can cut down on electricity use by reducing activity that increases home temperatures, requiring air conditioners to work harder, the company said.

A series of hot showers, stove-top cooking, blinds angled the wrong way and repeated opening of doors can boost the temperature of a home and add energy-intensive air conditioning work, TXU said.

Opening a refrigerator or freezer too often can also boost electricity use, the company said.

To reduce consumption, families could try cooler showers, reducing heat and humidity in the home, and eating cold foods or those made in a toaster or microwave, which does not add as much heat to a home, the company said.

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Chargers left plugged in, even when not in use, can add to the morning energy drain, the company said.

To cut down on that and other power sucks, families can make a sort of energy run around the home before leaving in the morning, unplugging unused electronics, turning off lights and fans, closing blinds and curtains, and raising the temperature of the thermostat to 78 degrees.

“Showing school-aged children how to conserve and save are great lessons to start the new school year with, and families can add some fun to the morning by challenging themselves to use the least amount of electricity possible,” said Jennifer Pulliam, director of products and innovation for TXU, in a statement.

7am spike