(WZZM) - Now that the temperatures are going down, your utilities bill is probably doing the opposite, going up.
Now you have more reason than ever to cut back on your electricity, gas and water consumption. A new, popular website earthaid.net will pay you to trim your usage each month. "We're more than doubling the rewards for saving energy," says Ben Bixby of Earthaid.
You simply register on the website for free and link up any or all of your utilities: electricity, gas and water. The site tracks your usage each month and when it sees you decreasing your consumption, it pays you on a point system. You then redeem your points from national and local businesses like "The Body Shop", "Must Love Dogs Boutiques & Spa" in Grand Haven, "The Creative Fringe" also in Grand Haven, "Cascade Winery" in Grand Rapids and "Food Dance," a restaurant in Kalamazoo. Owner Ben Bixby tells us additional businesses in West Michigan are joining.
Awards can be redeemed for as few as 25 points or as much as 300 points, and aren't very difficult to earn. "One kilowatt hour of electricity equals one point. 10 cubic feet of natural gas equals one point and 20 gallons of water saved equals one point. We found folks are earning on average about 50 to 75 points per month when they're using earthaid to help them save energy," says Bixby.
Bixby sees it as a win-win for homeowners and local businesses.
"We looked at the market and we looked at the incentive structure that exists and we realized the American way is more carrot than the stick. That person (who receives a gift card) is likely to come along with a group of friends and come back again if they had a good time. It's a great way for local businesses and national brands alike, to get new people in the door and introduce them to their business. "
More than anything, it's a great way for homeowners to develop energy saving habits that will help them save for an entire lifetime. For some helpful tips on how to cut back on your energy consumption this winter, click on this link.