Whether you’re looking to protect the environment or save money, these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy can help.
- Start with appliances and home electronics. About 20 percent of your energy bill comes from the use of washers, dryers, dishwashers, room air conditioners, computers, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, and home audio and video equipment. Use them less, if you can. When replacing these items, look for energy efficient models.
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 10 percent of your energy budget. Replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient bulbs can cut your lighting energy use by up to 75 percent.
- Match lighting to function. Match the amount of light and the type of light to the area. More isn’t always better.
- Turn out the lights…sometimes. Incandescent lights should be turned off whenever you leave a room. Fluorescent bulbs should be left on if there’s a good chance they’ll be needed again in 15 minutes or less.
- Don’t leave the computer on. Turn off your computer if it won’t be used for two hours. If you’ll be away for 20 minutes or more, shut off the monitor. Plug your computer, monitor and printer into a power strip and turn it off when the computer is not in use.
- Get a home energy assessment. Random changes in home energy efficiency lead to random energy savings. Taking a systematic approach via a home energy assessment provides concrete ideas and a plan. You can do it yourself or hire a professional.
- Insulate and seal. If your house can’t get cool in the summer despite continuous air conditioner use, or if your toes turn blue in the winter even though the heat’s on, you may have an insulation problem. It can be solved. Ventilation, insulation, air sealing and moisture control can significantly increase your home’s comfort and decrease your heating and cooling bill.
- Heat and cool efficiently. A home’s heating and cooling systems use more than half your home’s energy. If you’re serious about saving energy, start here. Energy efficient units, programmable thermostats and using space heaters are just three examples to help you save.
The key to conserving energy at home is to commit to it. It may cost a little bit more up front, but the long term benefits make it worth it.