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Transforming your home from an outdated, energy-guzzling edifice into an energy-efficient home can seem like an overwhelming task.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.
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.
Turn it off
Energy savings: 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|
|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|
|Analog TVs, <40"||86||12||0||184||$17.66||$8.83|
|Video game systems||36||36||1||41||$3.94||$1.97|
|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|
|Rechargeable power tool||13||4||0||38||$3.60||$1.80|
Tip: Use cold water in laundry and air dry clothes.
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
Tip: Replace your air filters.
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 the Reliant Filters Made Easy® Program, which will help ensure your air filters are delivered on time so you can change them out regularly.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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