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Simple Ways to Save Energy at Home

By Varsha Subscribe to RSS | May 21st 2012 | Views:

Achieving a more energy efficient home can seem like a daunting task at times. There’s a lot of information out there, and it seem like there’s a whole host of vendors aiming to convince you that their services will maximize your home’s efficiency and save you money on your energy bills. “New energy efficient windows will cut your bills in half!” “Our furnaces will are 50% more efficient that your current central heating!” “Solar, solar, solar!” Who is right and who is wrong? It really depends on a number of key variables; where you live, your current home mechanics and list goes on. Energy Results’ home assessment tool can help you easily prioritize these investments for your home, but that’s not our focus in this article. We’ve heard from plenty of homeowners; “Can you just give me a few energy saving tips that don’t cost much but will help me start saving today?”The answer: Yes we can!

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that a more energy efficient homes can make have a whole host of benefits; increased home comfort, reduced environmental impact, lower energy bills and healthier home air quality. Let’s spend some time exploring the simple ways to save energy at home, including small behavioral changes and very low cost investments. Each upgrade alone may not save you enough energy to take a trip to Cancun, or even buy a share of the Facebook IPO (if you could get it!), but when taken together, these investments can have a material impact on your bills.


1. Turn Your Lights Off When You Leave the Room: Yes, it sounds simple. And it is. Remember to turn lights off when you leave the room and encourage the rest of your family, including your kids, to do the same. Remember: “one person, one light.” Use natural sunlight when it makes sense.Savings: Around $30 per year.

2. Use Blinds Wisely in the Summer: Yes, natural light from the sun is great and can have some very positive effects. But remember to use window, skylight and glass door treatments (blinds, drapes, etc.) wisely in the summer. Intense summer sun can warm your home, causing your central A/C system to work harder to cool your home. Consider heading outside to enjoy the summer sun and before you do, close blinds on windows impacted by the shining sun to keep your home cool. Savings: Around $20 per year.

3. Use Your Programmable Thermostat: Many homes have them, not many people use them. The programmable thermostat may be the most underused energy saving asset in your home. Why spend money to heat or cool your home while you and your family and at school, work or out running errands? Using central air less during that time can save you some major bucks over the course of the year. Savings: Vary widely, but as much as $200 per year (or more!)

4. Recycle or Unplug Your Second Refrigerator. Plenty of homeowners like the convenience of having a second fridge in the garage or elsewhere in the home. They’re great for parties and can really be useful. But often these refrigerators go unused, or are used sparingly, for the majority of the year. Remember to unplug the refrigerator when not in use, or recycle your second refrigerator if you don’t need it anyone. The refrigerator is your highest energy-using appliance, so savings can be significant.Savings: Up to $100 per year.

5. Use Cold or Warm Water to Wash Clothes: The major expense from your clothes washing process comes from heating the water for your clothes washer. Many loads can be done with cold or warm water, especially with the assistance of detergents made for these washes. Reconsider your default wash settings and you could save significant dollars over the course of the year. Savings:Up to $65 per year.

6. Turn Down Your Water Heater And Turn It Off When You’re On Vacation: What temperature is your water heater set at? You don’t know? Well, you are certainly not alone. Be sure your water heater is set to no more than 120 degrees. Adjusting the temperature setting down can save you money without impacting your shower quality at all. Also, consider shutting your water heater off while you’re on vacation. Why pay to have heated water on stand-by for you if you’re not there? Savings: Up to $75 per year.

Incorporating these simple actions into your daily lives over the year can have a noticeable impact on your energy bills over the course of the year, energy efficient appliances, saving you money and creating a more comfortable, planet-friendly home. When you’re interested in learning more about other investment, including other low-cost home upgrades, that can save your even more money, visit Energy Results to use our free educational tools. Our tools will help you assess what upgrades are best for your home, send you personalized reminders and help you share you energy savings success with family, friends, neighbors and even future home buyers. So let’s get started!

Varsha - About Author:
James Carlin is the Co-Founder of Energy Results LLC, headquartered in Chicago, IL. Energy Results empowers homeowners to save energy and money through energy efficient home upgrades. James is a former Executive Director of Investment Banking at JPMorgan. James holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University and an MBA from The Booth School of Business at The University of Chicago. For more information, please visit or email

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