Saving money without leaving home just got easier with our easy-to-follow guide. From simply conserving energy by turning the lights off in unused rooms to government incentive programs, you can find the best options for your needs.
Did you know the average American household spends $2,000 on energy costs each year, with nearly 30% of those costs spent on appliances, lighting, and electronics according to the Environmental Protection Agency? With 10% of that amount going to your lighting alone, it’s clear lowering at least part of your energy consumption is as easy as flicking a switch.
Even if you’re currently a renter (and, therefore don’t own appliances and windows), there are plenty of options to help renters lower their energy costs. Browse the energy saving tips below to see what works for you.
Make Efficient Choices
When you know what choices cost you the most, it’s easy to make small changes in your favor.
- Take the time to assess your home for energy efficiencies with this government energy-usage assessment tool. Some power companiesand libraries also have portable energy meters you may check out to measure the voltage, electricity cost, and electronic consumption of your appliances.
- It does help to turn off your lights and applianceswhen not in use.
- Unplug unnecessary equipment, such as seldom-used audio equipment and computer printers and enable the power-saving options on video consoles.
- When reheating food, remember that a microwave uses less energy thana conventional oven. Plus, you can reheat your food in a matter of minutes!
- Browse this handful of money-saving clothes-washing tipsthat include washing your clothes in cold water, using cold-water detergents, and regularly cleaning out the dryer lint filter.
- Lower your water temperature to 120 degrees and save anywhere between $36 and $61 per year.
- Be smart about your interior climate. Lower your thermostat by 5 or even 10 degrees at night or when you’re not at home. Open drapes and blinds on sunny windows to warm your house in the winter; close them in the summer to keep the heat out.
- Regularly replace your HVAC filter. Dirty filters reduce air flowand cause your furnace or heat pump to work harder.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Items
Even small investments can make large differences in your yearly energy savings. What’s more, rebates and tax credits can help further defray the cost of purchasing more energy-efficient items.
- Switch out all incandescent bulbs to compact florescent bulbs. According to Consumer Reports, you’ll save about $56 over the life of each bulb. They use 70-80% less energy and last 10-20 times longer than traditional bulbs. LEDs use up to 90% less energyand can last up to 25% longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Look into smart technologiesfor your home such as thermostats (here are some that cost less than $200) and lights that you can schedule to turn off and on at pre-set times or program from your smart phone.
- If you can afford it, replacing your old refrigerator can save you up to $150 per yearon your bills. In some states, a government program will pick up your old, working refrigerator or freezer for free, recycle it responsibly, and give you $35 in exchange!
- When shopping for appliances and other household items, look for the government-backed Energy Star®Not only are these products determined by the Environmental Protection Agency to be most efficient, but also you may be eligible for a rebate! You don’t have to purchase big ticket items like freezers and dishwashers to get money back, either.
- Remember that tax credits can defray of up to 10% of equipment costs for replacing old windows, doors, and skylights. The limit per year is $500 total, up to $200 for windows.
- If you can’t pay to replace windows and doors just now, weather stripping and caulking can reduce your heating bills by 15 to 30%. Adding insulation and covering hot-water pipes can save you another 10%.
- If you are really serious about making improvements—such as adopting solar, small wind, fuel cell, or geothermal systems—Residential Energy Tax Creditscan apply to up to 30% of the costs.
Energy Savings Resources
Looking for more great ideas to conserve your energy usage and make a positive impact on your wallet? Plenty of resources exist online for everyone from homebuilders to renters when it comes to saving energy costs. Look for government-backed programs like the ones below or conduct a search for “energy saving incentives” and the name of your state to get started.
Run by the Federal Energy Management Program, this initiative encourages Americans to make energy efficient choices through incentives like tax credits and rebates.
Run by the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star encourages Americans to save money and protect the climate through energy efficiency.
Energy Saving Incentives by State
Saving money by saving energy is in everyone’s best interest because it preserves the health of our planet. By putting in a little energy of your own into reducing your energy costs, your wallet will feel healthier, too.