As we enter the last week of National Energy Awareness Month, it’s time to start thinking ahead to how you can improve your home energy efficiency and energy consumption habits throughout the year. The decision to start saving energy doesn’t happen in a day, or even in a month. It’s a long-term process that requires ongoing commitment to energy consciousness and individual initiatives to relearn bad habits.
Looking ahead, here is a checklist of things you can do today, this week, and this year to improve your energy efficiency.
- Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms
- Power down your computer between uses
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Close open windows when the heat or air conditioning is running
- Program your thermostat (if it’s programmable)
- Lower the temperature of your water heater to the “warm” setting (120°F)
- Swap incandescent bulbs for CFLs
- Flip your ceiling fan blades to reduce winter heating costs
- Change your furnace filters
- Seal any noticeable air leaks, such as a leaky window or door
- Schedule your seasonal furnace tune-up
- Start studying your monthly utility bill to track improvement in energy use
- Switch to a Nest Learning Thermostat
- Purchase low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce water consumption
- Schedule a professional home energy audit
- Insulate any areas of your home that are not already, such as attics or crawlspaces
- Replace outdated, inefficient appliances with new EnergyStar rated products
- Upgrade old windows with energy-efficient models
As you start the process of learning to be more energy conscious, it may feel like you’re just taking baby steps. However, even small changes can have a big impact in your overall energy savings. For example, simply taking advantage of settings on your programmable thermostat can save as much as $180/year! Take those small behavioral changes on an individual level and magnify them worldwide, and some estimates say we could be saving an additional $3 billion in energy costs every year.