NRG Energy-Saving Quick Fixes

Energy-Saving Quick Fixes

Transforming your home from an outdated, energy-guzzling edifice into an energy-efficient home can seem like an overwhelming task. What many people don’t realize is that with a few quick fixes and some small changes to daily habits, you can conserve lots of energy and save yourself a pretty penny in the process. In this section, we will describe some of the easiest ways that you can increase the energy efficiency of your home. You won’t find any heavy lifting or complicated installations here — just simple solutions that anyone can do. Pay attention to the detailed advice listed below, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a home that is incredibly energy-efficient without any major renovations. 

For the difficulty, cost and energy savings ranking legend, see the efficiency guide overview page.

Energy Efficient Habits

Want to save on your electric bill but don’t want to pay for costly renovations? Are you renting but still want to maximize your home’s efficiency? Do you feel the need to make your home as energy efficient as possible to protect the environment? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then these helpful tips are perfect for you! You will be blown away at how much energy can be saved by simply improving your daily habits.

Residential Energy Consumption

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Tip: Turn it off.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting Icon Up to $300

As you can see in the chart below, many devices continue to draw small amounts of electricity even when they are not being used. Although these appliances, devices and utilities may not require much power individually, collectively they can suck tons of energy out of your home — costing you money. By making sure that these items are completely turned off when not in use, you can greatly increase your home’s efficiency. Furthermore, be mindful of how much energy different items require to run. Maybe next time, avoid the hairdryer and use a towel. Even little changes like this will deliver amazing results over time. 

Power consumption and cost of various home appliances and devices
Appliance/Device Power consumption (W) Annual consumption Annual cost Savings with 50% less consumption
On Idle Off
Electronics
Digital TVs, ED/HD TV, >40" 234 6 0 455 $43.68 $21.84
Analog TVs, >40" 156 12 0 312 $29.95 $14.98
Digital TVs, ED/HD TV, <40" 150 6 0 301 $28.90 $14.45
Desktop PCs 75 4 2 237 $22.75 $11.38
Analog TVs, <40" 86 12 0 184 $17.66 $8.83
Set-top boxes 20 0 20 178 $17.09 $8.54
Stereo systems 33 30 3 119 $11.42 $5.71
Monitors 84 2 0 167 $8.20 $4.10
DVD/VCR 17 13 3 78 $7.49 $3.74
Notebook PCs 25 2 2 72 $6.91 $3.46
Video game systems 36 36 1 41 $3.94 $1.97
Lighting
Torchiere lamp – halogen 300 0 0 440 $42.05 $21.02
100W Incandescent lamp 100 0 0 70 $6.45 $3.22
60W Incandescent lamp 60 0 0 40 $3.87 $1.93
18W Compact fluorescent 18 0 0 20 $2.06 $1.03
Miscellaneous
Dehumidifier 600 0 0 970 $93.31 $46.66
Space heater 1,320 1 0 314 $30.13 $15.07
Ceiling fan 35 0 0 81 $7.80 $3.90
Coffee maker 1,000 70 0 58 $5.60 $2.80
Rechargeable power tool 13 4 0 38 $3.60 $1.80
Hair dryer 710 0 0 40 $3.40 $1.70
Lawn sprinkler 11 0 0 32 $3.10 $1.55
Totals 5,083 199 32 4,247 $399.36 $199.68

Source: Buildings Energy Data Book (U.S. Department of Energy), Home Energy Saver & Score: Engineering Documentation

Tip: Use cold water in laundry and air dry clothes.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting IconLighting Icon

Think your clothes won’t be properly cleaned without hot water? Think again! Just about any washer nowadays is more than capable of thoroughly washing clothes in cold water. Up to 90% of the energy used to run a clothes washer is needed simply to heat the water.1 By running clothes through cold cycles you can save a ton of energy and money. You can further compound the energy savings by air drying your clothes when possible, instead of using a clothes dryer, which requires a large amount of electricity to run. Other ways to save energy with these appliances involve upgrades to the appliance itself, such as making the switch from a top loading washer to a front loading washer. 

Effects of different washers and water temperatures on energy usage and cost
Type Water usage Cost per load (washer) Cost per load (dryer) Total cost per load Total cost per month Cost per year
Top loaders Using only hot water $0.85 $0.50 $1.35 $41.00 $488
Top loaders Using only cold water $0.46 (air dry) $0.46 $14.00 $167
Front loaders Using only hot water $0.56 $0.46 $1.02 $31.00 $370
Front loaders Using only cold water $0.32 (air dry) $0.32 $9.72 $116

For electric washers, based on seven loads per week with electric cost of $0.15 per kWh, $5.50 per 1,000 gallons of water, $0.20 of detergent per load

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Michael Bluejay, Inc.

Tip: Replace your air filters.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting IconLighting Icon

Home Energy Cost Breakdown Air Filters

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Changing the air filters in our homes is something that we don’t think about very often, but this simple update can have a dramatic effect on your home’s energy efficiency and on your electric bill. Around half of the energy in most homes goes towards heating and cooling, and changing a clogged or worn out air filter can lower your energy consumption by as much as 15%!2 Small savings like this certainly add up, while also improving the air quality and healthiness of your home. Make sure to change your air filter out at least every three months. Homes with dogs or other air quality culprits may need to switch out filters even more regularly. For added convenience, check out Reliant Filters Made Easy, which will help ensure your air filters are delivered on time so you can change them out regularly.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy


Home Décor: Lighting & Shade Tips to Reduce Energy Bills

Lighting is a significant part of any home, whether artificial or from the sun, and it is especially important when talking about energy efficiency. Using efficient lighting and managing how the sun affects your home are two of the most basic yet most critical aspects of saving energy. These tips are almost intuitive in nature, but many of us still often forget to do them. Taking a little time out of your day to follow these tips will help you continue down the path towards creating a green home.

Tip: Change out your light bulbs.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting IconLighting Icon

We’ve already seen how important turning lights off can be – but what about the bulbs themselves? Many people continue to use outdated, traditional bulbs because of their low initial cost, but the table from Energy.gov above should make us all think twice. Most modern bulbs are made to be extremely efficient and to last a lifetime, with 12W LED lights using 25% of the energy conventional bulbs use while lasting 25 times longer.3 The next time one of your old bulbs busts, remember to go with one of the more efficient bulbs listed above. It will inevitably save you time, energy and money. Through the Efficiency Connection program, funded by CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, you can have all the LED light bulbs you need delivered right to your doorstep.

Comparisons between traditional incandescents, halogen incandescents, CFLs and LEDs
Traditional 60W incandescent 43W halogen incandescent 15W CFL 12W LED
- Energy-saving incandescent 60W Traditional 43W Halogen 60W Traditional 43W Halogen
Energy $ saved - ~25% ~75% ~65% ~75%-80% ~72%
Annual energy cost* $4.80 $3.50 $1.20 $1.00
Bulb cost $1.00 $4.00 $8.50 $6.00
Bulb life 1,000 hours ~1 year 4.5 years 10+ years
10-year cost (per bulb) $68+ $75+ $31.77 Less than $16

*Based on 2 hrs/day of usage, an electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Tip: Automate what you can.

Difficulty: Hammer IconHammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign IconDollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting IconLighting Icon

So you have your modern, efficient bulbs, and you already know to keep the lights off when possible. Now what? Take your home efficiency a step further with home automation products and automatic lights. Modern technology has provided us with a slew of automation products that can do all the thinking for you. Some are as simple as adapters that let you turn off lights with your phone, while more complicated products will help you create a smart home that is also green and energy efficient.

Tip: Install awnings and curtains.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting IconLighting Icon

As the sun beats down upon your house, your home can struggle to keep things cool. This is especially true if you have large windows that expose the interior of your home to direct sunlight throughout the hot day. You can help nullify this heat increase in a couple of ways. Firstly, you can install awnings that will protect your home from the sun’s rays. For an even simpler, more elegant solution, remember to draw the curtains or shades before you head out to work. This also insulates your home from cold temperatures. Even the smallest habits can have a lasting impact on the overall energy efficiency of your home.

Tip: Use LED Strips.

Difficulty: Hammer Icon    Cost: Dollar Sign Icon

Energy savings: Lighting Icon

Due to their incredible efficiency and long service life, LEDs offer a great alternative to traditional lighting. In closets, under cabinets, in the garage — finding places to implement LED strips is a great way to increase the energy efficiency of your home. And with easy installation and simple use, why not?


1Micheal Bluejay http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html

2U.S. Department of Energy http://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner

3U.S. Department of Energyhttp://energy.gov/energysaver/how-energy-efficient-light-bulbs-compare-traditional-incandescents

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