Chapter

Low-Cost and No-Cost Ways to Save Energy

Here are several do-it-yourself tips to save energy right now, including easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.
  • Replace lamps in your older indoor and outdoor incandescent lighting fixtures with energy-saving incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs. Upgrading 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use—TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Air dry clothes.
  • Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
  • Keeping the air filter on your HVAC system clean can lower your system’s energy consumption by 5%–15%.
  • You can significantly reduce hot water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures—faucets and showerheads—or pipes. A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month.
  • You can purchase some quality, low-flow fixtures (showerheads and sink faucet aerators) for around $10 to $20 a piece and achieve water savings of 25%–60%.
  • Install heat traps on your water heater tank (valves or loops of pipe that allow water to flow into the water heater tank but prevent unwanted hot-water flow out of the tank) to save around $15-$30 on your water heating bills.
  • Unless your water heater’s storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs.
  • You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by using a pool cover.
  • Adding a storm door can be a good investment if your existing door is old but still in good condition.
  • You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable joints, such as windows or doors.
  • A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but it also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. On average, landscaping for energy efficiency provides enough energy savings to return an initial investment in less than 8 years.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.