Anywhere energy is used, there is an opportunity to be more efficient. We rely on energy to help us complete everyday tasks. But there are ways to take the energy you are already using and understand how to use it more wisely. These simple steps will help you save money, reduce energy use and contribute to a more sustainable future. Below are 25 tips to help you understand how to use energy around your home more efficiently.
Lighting is an easy and cost-effective way to get started on saving energy. The more wisely you use lighting, the less energy you consume and less money you spend on your electric bill. Here are a few tips for decreasing your lighting consumption:
- Use task lighting.
- A plug-in floor or desk lamp consumes less energy than overhead lighting.
- Place lamps in corners.
- Take advantage of a light colored wall and use it as a reflective surface. Placing lamps in room corners will allow the light to be reflected.
- The result will be a brighter room with the need for fewer lights.
- Use automatic timers or dimmers.
- Dimmers allow you to modulate the brightness of a lighting source by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb so lights can operate with lower power outputs, thus saving energy.
- Dimming outdoor lighting is also a boon to nature. Bright outside lights add to light pollution, which, according to the International Dark Sky Association, wastes money and energy, disrupts wildlife, impacts human health, contributes to climate change and blocks our view of the night sky.
- Choose ENERGY STAR® certified LED lighting. LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They use less energy, deliver high quality and help protect the environment. Among their many benefits:
- Reduced energy costs—They use up to 90% less energy than incandescent lighting, saving on operating expenses and electric bills.
- Reduced maintenance costs—ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs last 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting and about two to five times longer than fluorescent lighting. Fewer bulb replacements will save you money, as well!
- Reduced cooling costs—LEDs produce very little heat and can lower home cooling energy costs.
- Guaranteed—ENERGY STAR certified LEDs come with a minimum three-year warranty, far beyond the industry standard.
- Convenient features—These LEDs come with dimming on some indoor models and automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors on some outdoor models.
Heating and Cooling
Conserving energy at home when heating, cooling & water heating will save you money and decrease overall electricity demand. It also can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decrease the use of water associated with power production. Check out a few tips for saving on your heating and cooling energy use at home:
- Maintain the factory-set temperature on your water heater.
- It will save you money: Water heating alone can account for 14–25% of the energy consumed in your home.
- Install a low-flow showerhead that can reduce your water use up to 40%.
- Ensure your boiler/furnace or heat pump receives professional maintenance each year.
- Professional yearly maintenance helps improve efficiency and comfort.
- Replace the filter on your furnace every two months. A dirty filter can make your system work harder, requiring more energy and increasing your energy cost.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- A Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat can also help you track energy usage and can be operated remotely. So, if you forget to adjust it before leaving home, you can do it from wherever you are.
- During the colder months, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day.
- Opening curtains allows sunlight to heat your home naturally.
- Close the curtains at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
- Insulate heating ducts in unheated areas.
- Uninsulated ducts can leak air into spaces you don’t want to heat, such as attics and crawlspaces. That wastes energy and raises your heating bills.
- Keeping ducts in good working condition can prevent up to 60% heat loss at air registers and save you money.
- Maintain your air intake vents regularly.
- Vacuuming removes dust buildup that prevents vents from operating at maximum efficiency, requiring more energy.
- Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
- Hire a skilled technician to perform a whole-house energy audit.
- It is the best way to find and address efficiency issues in your home.
- Visit NHSaves.com to learn about energy audits and ways to improve your home’s comfort and efficiency.
We all have several appliances in our homes, including clothes washers/dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens/stoves, refrigerators and toaster ovens. But some use more energy than others, and there are steps you can take to maximize energy savings from your appliances. Read on to learn more!
- Let your dishes air dry.
- Air drying saves energy over using your dishwasher’s heat dry cycle.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Keep your freezer full! Frozen food will keep the unit’s temperature low and save energy.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water. This will heat the water faster and use less energy.
- Open the oven only when necessary to avoid losing heat. When opened, the oven temperature is reduced by 25%.
- When possible, cook food in a microwave. Microwave ovens use 30–80% less energy than conventional ovens.
- Washer / Dryer:
- Washing clothes in cold water to save energy. 90% of the washing machines energy goes towards heating the water.
- Use a cool-down cycle if your clothes dryer has one. The cycle allows clothes to finish drying with only the heat remaining in the dryer.
- Room Air Condtioners:
- ENERGY STAR® certified room ACs use 10% less energy and, on average, will save you $75 a year.
Did you know the average number of connected electronic devices in a U.S. home is 10? While electronic devices are more energy efficient now than in the past, we use many more. All such electronics — televisions, DVD players, computers, game consoles, cell phones and more—use electricity via a plug or charging device. Even when not in use or powered off, the equipment often consumes a small amount of electricity, called “vampire power.” While each uses only a small amount of energy, the more devices you have, the more energy you consume. Here are a few ways to cut the energy use of the electronic devices in your home:
- Use an advanced power strip.
- It serves as a central “turn-off” point when you are done using electronic equipment. All you have to do is turn off the power strip to shut down all the connected electronics at once.
- Avoid using a screen saver on your computer.
- According to ENERGY STAR, screen savers don’t really save energy. In fact, graphics-intensive screen savers can cause the computer to burn MORE energy and can prevent a computer from entering sleep mode.
- Instead of using a screen saver when your computer monitor is not active, let it switch to sleep mode or turn the monitor off to consume less energy.
- Replace worn equipment with ENERGY STAR® certified computers.
- They use 30–65% less energy than computers without this designation.
- Consider a laptop, which uses much less energy than a desktop computer.
- Streaming a show? Use a digital media player.
- Media players, such as ROKU or Apple TV, use a fraction of the energy than game consoles use.
- Unplug cell phone chargers when charging is complete & not connected to a device.
A Few Extras
Want more energy-saving tips? Here are a few additional ways to save energy at home:
- Purchase an ENERGY STAR certified pump for your pool.
- They are 55% more efficient than conventional models.
- As a result, you can save hundreds on your energy bill during peak months!
- Recycle your inefficient refrigerator /freezer
- Save up to $100 a year in energy costs.
- In addition, you can get no-cost pickup from your NHSaves utility partner.
- Plant some shade trees!
- Shade landscaping protects your home from direct sunlight.
- Additionally, the landscaping will keep your home cool in the hot months and warm in the cool months.
Now that you’ve learned all these great tips for reducing energy use and saving money, share them with friends and family! Even small steps help create a more sustainable future.