Making your home green and energy-efficient can be easier than you thought.  Here are some tips:

  • Do go on a power strip.  Power strips aren’t just for computer gear.  Use them for appliances, televisions, any thing that uses electricity when not in use.  Turn them off with on quick click of the switch.
  • Do add insulation to your windows.  Up to 50% of a home’s heating and colling energy is lost through the windows.  High-insulating shades can more than double the energy efficiency of a window and reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Do maintain your mechanical systems.  Service and clean your gas or oil furnace at least once a year.  Keep your heating and air conditioner filters clean and replace your fiber-glass filters with reusable, washable ones.  Invest in a programmable thermostat that lets you set temperatures for different times of the day.  In summer set your thermostat as high as possible without sacrificing comfort.  The less difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Do watch air conditioning units.  Remove air-conditioning units in the fall because they invite drafts.  Or, use an insulated jacket on the exterior.  An air conditioning unit in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun. 
  • Don’t place lamps or TV sets near a thermostat.   The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Don’t try to speed up heating or cooling by raising the thermostat beyond the desired temperature.   In winter, the popular notion that the higher you set the thermostat, the faster your home will warm up.  In reality, it takes the same amount of time for the temperature to reach 70 degrees whether the thermostat is set at 70 or 90 degrees.  Setting the thermostat all the way up only increases your heating costs.  The same is true for summer, setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when yo turn on the air conditioner will not cool your home any faster.  According to the Department of Energy, it could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.