1. Plug In to Advanced Power StripsAccording to the Department of Energy (DOE), energy vampires—devices that use electricity even when they’re off—can add 10% to your utility bill. Plugging your electronics in to an advanced power strip is one of the easiest ways to combat energy vampires and help reduce your electricity use. There are several advanced power strips on the market, including those that use motion detection technology to turn outlets off when no activity is detected in the room. This infographic from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory can help you identify the best strip for your needs.
2. Seal & Insulate DuctworkHoles and loose connections in your home’s ductwork undermine the performance of your heating and cooling system—adding to your utility costs and potentially shortening the system’s life. The good news is, sealing and insulating your ductwork is a relatively easy DIY project that can improve your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by up to 20%. This New Year’s energy resolution is a bit more involved than the others on our list, but the potential pay-off makes it well worth the effort.
3. Use Energy-Efficient BulbsReplace your home’s incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diodes. Commonly referred to as LEDs, these bulbs use up to 90% less energy and can last fifteen times longer than standard bulbs. LEDs cost more than their traditional counterparts, but over their lifetime they can save you $80 or more in energy expenses. When shopping for LEDs, look for packages displaying the ENERGY STAR logo. These bulbs meet specific requirements to ensure their energy efficiency and performance.
4. Commit to Smarter Water UseLong, hot showers are relaxing, but they’re also energy wasters. Water heaters account for almost 17% of household energy use, consuming more energy than all other home appliances put together. If cold showers are out of the question, consider reducing the time you spend in the shower down to around five minutes. For additional energy efficiency and savings, install a low-flow showerhead and adjust the temperature setting on your water heater. Turning down the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees can save you as much as 22% on your energy bill.
5. Turn On Ceiling FansCeiling fans are attractive decorative elements, and they’re practical to boot. In fact, when set to spin in the ideal direction, ceiling fans can reduce your energy consumption. During cold months, adjust your ceiling fans to spin clockwise to push down warm air that rises. During warm months, switch them to spin counter-clockwise to create a cool breeze. If you live in a hot, humid climate, consider using a dehumidifier in addition to your ceiling fan. Dehumidifiers help you feel cooler by taking the moisture out of the air, so you’re less apt to turn on the air conditioner. Whether you live in the heart of Texas or elsewhere, we encourage you to commit to a greener 2017. Implement some of these easy energy-saving tactics and watch your savings grow—no major lifestyle adjustment required!