Everyone has the power to save money and energy in their home and/or business. Improving energy efficiency is like adding another clean energy source to the electric grid. The result is reduced utility bills and extra money in your pocket. Improve your energy efficiency by following some of the tips below!
Throughout the House
- Switch out light bulbs to LEDs. LED light bulbs last longer and use up to 80% less energy than a standard light bulb.
- Incorporate more natural lighting. Take advantage of the sun by installing and using windows and skylights.
- Use power strips to eliminate phantom loads. Plug home electronics into power strips and turn off the strip when not in use. Doing so will reduce "phantom loads" - electricity that is wasted when electronics are not in use.
- Fix leaky faucets. A leaky faucet in the house can waste as much as one liter of water per hour, that's enough to fill a bath in a week!
In the Kitchen
- Let your dishes air dry. A dishwasher uses more energy to dry your dishes than to wash them. If your dishwasher doesn't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open to let them air dry.
- Upgrade your appliances. When the time comes to buy a new appliance, take a look at its energy rating. Appliances with the EPA Energy Star label have been evaluated and deemed energy efficient.
- Don't leave smaller kitchen appliances on standby. Get in the habit of turning off at the plug when not in use. An idle dishwasher, microwave, electric oven or any other appliance will sit there eating up electricity over time.
In the Bathroom
- Use bath ventilating fans sparingly. Once they have cleared any excess moisture or humidity, turn them off. Leaving them on too long will suck away household heat.
- Install an energy-efficient, low-flow showerhead. Water-efficient showerheads use no more than 2 gallons of water per minute, compared to the old standard of 6 gallons per minute.
- Take shorter showers. There are several tricks for using less water in the shower. Here's a few: turn off the water while soaping up or shaving; wash your hair every other day; use a timer, or play a song that's your target shower length.
In the Laundry Room
- Wash with cold or warm water more often. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load's energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more.
- Wash full loads. Your washer will use the same amount of energy no matter the size of the load, so fill it up.
- Air dry when you can. Hang laundry outside or on a drying rack to avoid using the dryer altogether.
- Remember to clean the lint filter on the dryer. The dryer will run more efficiently and safely.
Heating and Cooling
- Install an energy-efficient thermostat. Get in the habit of setting your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
- Insulate your home. Proper insulation will keep warmth in during the winter and heat out during the summer.
- Check insulation and ductwork for air leaks. Find out how to detect air leaks and learn more about air sealing.
- Use your windows. Open windows to allow wind to naturally ventilate your home.
- Install proper window coverings and draperies. Window coverings can reduce energy loss through windows, lower heating and cooling bills, and improve home comfort.
- Install and use ceiling fans. Fans cool people by creating a wind chill effect. They can also cut energy use and cost compared to central air conditioning.
- Power down office equipment such as computers, monitors, printers, and copiers at the end of the day. Doing so will conserve energy and reduce internal heat gain.
- Use power strips to eliminate phantom loads. Plug electronics into power strips and turn off the strip when not in use. Doing so will reduce "phantom loads", electricity that is wasted when electronics are not in use.
- Purchase energy-efficient office equipment. When the time comes to buy new office equipment, be sure to look for the Energy Star label. Electronics and appliances with this label have been evaluated and deemed energy-efficient.
- Turn off lights when not in use. Installing sensor lights can help to keep the lights on when needed, but off when they're not.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs. Switch out regular incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs such as CFL or LED.
- Take advantage of natural daylight. Turn off or dim electric lighting when adequate sunlight is available to illuminate interior space. Ensure outdoor lighting is off during daytime.
Heating and Cooling
- Keep your HVAC systems running smoothly. For best results, keep it tuned with annual maintenance. When the time comes to replace it, look for an energy-efficient system.
- Install a programmable or smart thermostat and use it wisely. A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to automatically adjust the temperature of your workplace. Set yours to turn the AC or heat on 30 minutes before people arrive and off 30-60 minutes after they leave.
- Keep the heat in (or out) with screens, film, and weather-stripping. Proper window treatments, shades, and awnings can increase energy efficiency.
- Consider energy-efficient landscaping. Strategically planting native trees to block winds and/or provide shade on summer days can help reduce heating and cooling costs.
- Educate and encourage employees to be energy-conscious. Employee involvement can make or break your business's efforts to conserve energy.
- Post business energy saving tips for employees in conspicuous areas. Friendly reminders can be a good nudge in the right direction, especially if they're about turning off lights or powering down equipment.
- Encourage energy innovation. Encourage employees to bring innovative energy-saving ideas in the workplace to regular staff meetings, or have some way for them to share anonymously.