Energy & Water Efficiency Tips


Why energy and water efficiency?

  1. Simple behavioral changes can cut utilities costs, leading to hundreds of dollars in annual savings.
  2. Conserving energy and water reduces ecosystem stresses locally and globally.
  3. Many of you neighbors are already using these tips to save energy and water, join them!
  • Keep refrigerator ¾ full of food or water in bottles. A full fridge/freezer uses less energy to keep things cool.
  • Plug appliances, chargers, printers, games, computer equipment, and all other electronics into power strips, and turn the power strips off when not in use.
  • If you don’t have a power strip, unplug appliances when not in use. Even when turned off, appliances still consume a considerable amount of energy.
  • Keep furniture away from air vents. Placing furniture over heating and cooling registers makes your heating systems and air conditioner work harder.
  • Clean or change filters regularly. A dirty furnace or A/C filter will slow down air flow and use more energy.
  • Cover air conditioner vents in winter. Sealing air leaks is the first and most important step to home comfort.
  • Seal windows and door drafts. Excess air leakage can increase heating and cooling bills by 30%.
  • Remember to turn lights off when you leave the room, and replace standard incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs – these newer bulbs last up to 10 and 25 times longer, respectively, and use about 1/4 of the electricity.
  • Adjust your curtains and blinds to let sunlight in or out, depending on the desired room temperature and light.
  • On cold days, turning down the heat to 55–65 degrees at night or when you aren’t home can make a big difference in your utility bill.
    • Save 3% in energy costs for every degree you lower the thermostat setting in the winter.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to heat/cool your home only when needed.
  • Remember to turn down the heat at least 15 minutes before bedtime or when you leave your home for the day.
  • On warm days, use a room fan instead of an air conditioner, or set the air conditioner to no lower than 75 degrees.
  • Remember to turn your air conditioner off or to a higher temperature 15 minutes before leaving your home.
  • Put lids on cooking pots and use heavy pans or iron skillets to retain heat.
  • Once boiling or desired cooking temperature is reached, lower the heat.
  •  Don’t pre-heat oven; turn off the oven 5 minutes before item is cooked.
  • Cook with small appliances, such as a crock pot, microwave, toaster, etc.
  • Washing clothes in cold water prevents shrinkage and fading AND saves energy.
  • Wash only full loads in your washing machine.
  • Use the shortest cycle possible for washing clothes, and use the “water-saving” feature if your machine has one.
  • A 5-minute-or-less shower is more energy efficient than taking a bath.
  • Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth – instead partially fill sink while shaving. Rinse with short bursts of water for cleaning your brush and razors.
  • When hand-washing dishes, never run water continuously. Wash dishes in a partially filled sink and then rinse them using the spray attachment on your tap.

You can find a more comprehensive list of smart habits to conserve energy and water from the U.S. Department of Energy here. 

Interested in the motivations for behavior change? Learn more from Opower founder Alex Laskey.