There are dozens of things that you can do to reduce your energy use. The following are some of our favorite tips and tricks for reducing energy use in the home. These simple habits, easy home improvements, and smart buying tips can add up to considerable energy savings over time. You can find a checklist of energy saving measures here, or read on for more tips.
Make a Plan
Pick a member of the household to spearhead your energy saving efforts. They will create a list of energy saving measures and make sure they get done.
Look for the Energy Star label
Appliances with the Energy Star label may use 10 to 40 percent less energy than other competing models. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star model could deliver significant savings.
Close shades and blinds
In the summer, closing your shades or blinds to limit direct sun can help you reduce air conditioning needs.
Turn off lights and switch to LED lightbulbs
Always remember to turn off lights when they're not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential bill. Switching to LED lightbulbs uses less electricity and they last 3 – 25 times longer. Looking for rebates on LED lightbulbs in D.C.?
Wash clothes in cold water
Washing clothes in warm or hot water uses more energy. Consider washing clothes on cold. About 90% of the energy consumed in washing clothes is used just to heat the water.
Air-dry clothing when possible
The clothes dryer is one of the largest energy users in the home, often consuming as much as a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. When you have to use your machine, be sure to clean the lint filter after each use.
Raise your thermostat when no one is at home
On summer days, raise your thermostat to a higher setting (such as 78 degrees) when not at home. This can help reduce your energy costs by about 10%. Smart thermostats can be controlled from your phone. Looking for a rebate on a smart thermostat?
Root out energy vampires
Did you know that some appliances will use energy even when not in use? These are called energy vampires: devices and appliances that will continue to spin your electric meter even when switched off. Use a power strip, and you can switch off multiple gadgets at once. Buy a power meter to measure how much energy a device is using when idle.
Use fans to help circulate air
When someone is in a room, ceiling or other fans help make it feel cooler.
Replace air filters
When is the last time you replaced the air filter in your furnace? Set a calendar reminder to replace or clean the air filter on a regular schedule. A clean air filter means your furnace won’t need to run as long or work as hard.
Dial back your water heater temperature
Setting your water heater temperature to 120°F is usually sufficient for most household needs. Don’t forget to dial the water heater temperature way down if you’ll be away for more than a few days. Why spend all that money to heat a tankful of water you’re not going to use?
Run the dishwasher only when full
Fewer loads will save energy and water.
Plant a tree
Strategically placed trees can shade your home, reducing cooling needs. Did you know the Casey Tree Program offers free trees to qualifying households in D.C.?