Whether you want to slash your energy bill or be more environmentally-friendly, the next five energy saving tips will help
#1. Evaluate Your Energy Use: If you want to cut energy costs, you will first need to know how much energy use you’re using, and when you’re using it. Home energy monitoring systems can provide this information in real time. There are also online tools to aid in the process. The EPA’s Energy Star program, at energystar.gov, offers a set of tools called Home Advisor to assist you in improving your home’s energy efficiency while adding comfort and value. You will need to sign-up for an account to use these tools.
#2. Unplug Vampire Appliances: Vampire appliances use electricity even when they’re “off” by going into standby mode. According to the Department of Energy, vampire appliances and electronics use 4 to 5 percent of the energy in an average home. Vampire appliances include: computers and computer-related equipment, LCD and plasma TVs, surround sound systems, cable or satellite TV boxes, and household items with a clock or LED light (e.g. microwave, DVD player, game consoles, etc.).
#3. Change Light Bulbs: Changing from incandescent light bulbs to Energy Star qualified light bulbs can have a significant impact on your utility bills and on making your home greener. CFLs are compact fluorescent light bulbs, whereas, LEDs are light-emitting diodes. The electricity savings for a single LED or CFL light bulb is about $6 per year, and $40 for its lifetime, according to the EPA. These light bulbs can also keep your home cooler, thus more comfortable, as they don’t give off heat.
#4. Seal Out the Elements: This can be as easy as installing energy-efficient window treatments or coating the glass with a Low-E window film. In some situations; however, this may not be enough. Some homes may require new windows or insulation. Air sealing your home can significantly reduce air infiltration. Gaps or cracks in your home’s foundation, walls, roof, doors, windows or attic can contribute to high energy costs. Many public utility companies have programs to assist with air sealing.
#5. Improve Your Heating and Cooling System: As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Making smart decisions about your heating and cooling system can have a big effect on your monthly energy bills – and your comfort. You should: regularly change your air filter, annually tune-up your HVAC equipment, install a programmable thermostat, seal your heating and cooling ducts, and consider installing Energy Star qualified heating and cooling equipment.