Home Efficiency Tips from energyNOW and Alliance to Save Energy!

The following guest post is written by Silvio Marcacci, Director of Outreach for energyNOW!:
If you’re reading this blog, chances are good you’re concerned about your impact on Earth and want to reduce your energy demand and carbon footprint. Here’s some good news: energy efficient upgrades are among the simplest ways to cut back on energy use and slash utility bills. energyNOW! partnered with the Alliance to Save Energy to produce a series of short consumer energy efficiency videos. Not every tip will work for your home or apartment, but we cover as many topics as possible so no matter what your situation, you’ll find at least one new way to save energy. The first option consumers should consider is energy efficient lighting. Many efficient options are on the market, and innovations are lowering prices and boosting light quality over traditional incandescents. Replacing just 15 bulbs in your home with a combination of efficient bulbs could save you $50-$100 a year.

If you’re replacing major appliances, take a look at EnergyStar options. Appliances are often the biggest energy users in any home, but efficient replacements can save hundreds of dollars in energy and water per year. Best of all, many appliances qualify for state and local tax incentives and rebates.

Now that we’re in the summer months, air conditioner usage will spike bills in many homes. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates heating and cooling accounts for half the average American’s home energy bill. Fortunately, programmable thermostats can automatically regulate temperature in your home and can save you $110 a month or more.

The easiest way to reduce home heating and cooling energy use and costs is to keep the air filters on your home HVAC system clean. Experts recommend cleaning or changing the filters at least once a month during the heavy heating and cooling seasons to keep your system running efficiently and less expensive to operate. If you’re considering home remodeling, think about installing energy efficient windows or a tankless water heater. Both are on the expensive side of energy efficient upgrades, but can result in significant energy use reductions.

Heating water is the second-largest energy demand in an average home, because standard water heaters continuously use energy to keep a full tank of water hot at all times. Tankless water heaters heat water only when needed and cut energy use 30 percent.

Energy efficient windows are an investment, but return major heating and cooling savings. Special coatings on these windows keep heat outside in the summer and inside in the winter, and also reduce drafts. Heating and cooling cost an average of $1,000 per home, per year, nationwide, but efficient windows can cut those costs by up to 30 percent.

Silvio Marcacci is Director of Outreach for energyNOW!, a weekly TV program that examines America’s energy challenges and what we’re doing about them. You can watch energyNOW! on Bloomberg Television Saturday at 5:30 PM or Sunday at 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM (all times Eastern) or always online at Local listing information is available at

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Good list! I'm constantly trying to find things I hadn't thought of, and haven't done yet... I've done most of the above, when practical. My wife recently got me a nice espresso machine. It takes about 0.2kWh to make a nice latte. :) But if I forget to turn it off, the boiler will keep the water hot all day, and it draws about 1400W when heating. I got the little $9.99 Belkin Conserve timer outlet, and set it to 30min. So now it will never run more than 30min, and I won't waste all that electricity if I forget to flip it off when I'm done. And, best of all, the unit draws nothing at all when the timer isn't running. I've also really focused on the always-on stuff; I have some things on mechanical timers, but I realized even THOSE take energy 24/7, so unless I'm timing something that takes a fair bit of energy, I don't necessarily save anything by using a timer. Anyone else have any oddball suggestions that you don't see every day?

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