How to Save Energy at Home

Go green at home. It sounds simple. But, is it? The answer is an overwhelming yes! To help you get started, we've pulled together tips for turning everyday homes into energy-efficient homes. Read on for tips on identifying hidden power snatchers, choosing the right appliances, maintaining heating and cooling equipment and more.

Simple steps for energy efficient homes

Tip #1: Cut the power

The average American has about 25 electronic devices that use power even when turned off. Estimates from the Department of Energy show they add 10 percent or more to your monthly utility bill. These devices include:

  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Televisions
  • DVD and Blu-ray Disc® players
  • Video game consoles
  • Stereos and radios
  • Cell phone chargers

Unplug what you can, and then use power strips to toggle groups of electronics off when you're not around. Research shows even small adjustments can impact your electric bill.

Tip #2: Use energy-efficient appliances

Appliances account for about 12 percent of a monthly energy bill. Old appliances are notorious energy bandits. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR® logo. These appliances use 10–50 percent less energy and water.

Tip #3: Go lite on lights

Switch to LED bulbs. They use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and have a lifespan up to 25 times longer. In fact, replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 12-watt LED bulb may help save about $260 over the life of the bulb.

Tip #4: Keep temps in check

Half the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling, so set your thermostat wisely. Once set, a programmable thermostat can adjust temperatures automatically, saving up to $180 a year in energy costs. Other ways to save on heating/cooling your home:

  • Clean the air filter monthly when you use your furnace during extreme heating or cooling.
  • Invest in a new furnace. Furnaces with the ENERGY STAR label are about 25 percent more efficient than furnaces produced as recently as the 1980s.
  • If you're using the A/C, close curtains and shades on the east and west windows and delay heat generating activities (e.g. using dryers and dishwashing) until the sun goes down.

Tip #5: Turn off the water

Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth and save a whopping 4.5 gallons of water each day! Add an aerator to household faucets to cut water usage by 50 percent. Other water-saving ideas:

  • Install a low-flow toilet to save 1.9 gallons per flush compared to a pre-1994 toilet.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes to save up to 1,000 gallons of water per month.
  • Landscape with low water-use plants to help save up to 550 gallons of water annually.

Regardless of what methods you try, making your home even a little greener can have a big impact on your monthly utility bills. The best news is that you don't have to do it all to realize some benefits. And, that's the most rewarding part of creating more energy efficient homes.