As Californians celebrate Black History Month and all the contributions African-Americans have made in this country, it’s important to think about the history we are also paving today.

A part of building a better future for our families includes practicing energy efficiency. African-American communities across the state are disproportionately and severely affected by the impacts of climate change which affect our health.

One way to become more empowered is by taking control of your energy use. Developing more conscious habits is one way to alleviate the energy burden in our households and in our communities. Active engagement and efforts in energy efficiency will help to keep California golden.

Some tips include:

• Unplug devices not being used. A good rule of thumb for appliances: if it’s plugged in, it’s using energy – even if you’ve turned it “off.” Unplugging unnecessary items at night can help save energy.

• Lower the heat. Program your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter when you’re sleeping or when you’ll be away from home. Rugs and carpeting also aid with heat retention and they’re more comfortable on bare feet.

• Turn the lights off. Simply flip the light switch off when no one is in the room and you’ll save energy.

• Maintain your heating equipment to make it run more efficiently. Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as recommended. Keep warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators clean and clear of furniture, carpeting and drapes. Obstructing vents blocks heat and also wastes energy.

For more information visit www.energyup