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Common tips:

  • Winter temps should be 68° F and 60° or less while you sleep.
    The best sleep temperature is 62°.
    a 1 degree reduction in temperature results in a 3% energy savings.
  • Summer: Set the air conditioner at 78°or higher when you're in the house; 85 degrees when you're away. Setting it at 78 can save as much as 15% in cooling costs.
  • Portable or ceiling fans can make you feel cooler. When you feel cooler, you can set the thermostat higher. Test shows that most people feel comfortable at 85° if the air is circulating. So set the air conditioner thermostat at 82° and put the fan on low speed. The circulating air makes you feel cooler. When you leave a room, turn off the fan.
  • How can you use thermal mass? Just open windows during summer nights or early morning hours when the outside temperature is cooler than the inside of your home. The air cools the thermal mass in your home. As temperatures rise, the cooled thermal mass absorbs the heat. This delays when you need to turn on the air conditioner.
  • In the winter, thermal mass works best if the sun shines directly on. The heat absorbed during the day is released slowly into the air and continues to warm the room after the sun goes down.
  • Install Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater. 120° F is sufficient for many common uses. A 10° F reduction can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.
  • A fireplace is usually an inefficient way to heat your home. Its efficiency can be improved with:
    • Tight-fitting, closeable metal or glass doors covering the firebox opening,
    • A tight-fitting flue damper with a readily accessible handle.
    • An older fireplace often relies on indoor combustion air, so it's a good idea to crack open a nearby window when using an older fireplace.
  • Check and/or change filters every month. Dirty filters reduce efficiency, increase energy costs and can shorten the life of your system.
  • Have your system serviced by a qualified contractor every two to three years. If the unit is 10 years or older, consider having it serviced yearly.
See also: Tips on savings in home heating in heating costs under services

Home Projects:

  • A whole house fan can reduce air conditioning costs. It is a high velocity fan that is usually installed in the ceiling of a central hallway within a home. Outside air is drawn in through open windows. The air is then exhausted through the attic.
  • Older windows are usually not very energy efficient. You might decide to replace older windows or you can use these ideas to reduce air conditioning and heating loss.
  • If you frequently burn firewood, consider the installation of a fireplace insert. This can provide greater heating efficiency. Use only well-aged firewood, which burns hotter and cleaner.
Average Hot water use
Activity	Gal/use
Clothes washing 	32
Showering	20
Bathing	20
Automataic Dishwashing	4-10
Preparing food	5
Hand dishwashing	4
The average dishwasher uses 6-8 gallons of water per cycle; the average Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses 4 gallons per cycle.

Can hand washing be as efficient as dishwashing?
The average faucet flows at 2 gallons per minute.
(Mine with an aerator or using the spray uses 1.5 gal per minute.) A dishwasher can handle an 8 - 10 place settings.
That's 48 pieces of dishware - 6 pieces (including silverware) per setting and 6 serving dishes for 54 pieces. To do it in 3 minutes (6 gallons) you'd have 3.3 seconds per piece.

Most dishwasher manuals say you do not need to pre-rinse.
If you use 2.2 seconds/per piece that's 3 gallons of water.

Washing by hand is almost as good as using a new machine, provided that the hand-washer uses efficient techniques. Installing an aerator in your faucet can save 3 to 4 gallons for every minute that your tap is running. Scraping food off, soaking dishes in a basin of soapy water before getting started, and not letting the water run while you wash every dish will help you save water and energy. And it's best to have two basins to work in--one filled with hot, soapy water, the other with warm water for a rinse.

National Resources Defense Council (NRDC): The Great Dishwasher Debate
Built In Dishwashers vs. Hand Washing: Which is Greener? : TreeHugger
Green Shopping/Building:

Plastic Bags

Cool living Spaces
Recommended thermostat settings
Sierra Club Cool Home Presentation and checklist
Future of Electricity in the Transportation Sector, by Sunil Somalwar
Harness the Power of the Sun: The Complete Guide to Using Solar Energy
Composting 101
Going Green with Solar Panels in the Home
24 Ways to Make Your Classroom Eco Friendly This Year
Eco & Environmental Scholarships, Internships, and Activities
Go Green & Get Green: Tax Rebates and Incentives for Green Home Improvements
Green Jobs: A Resource Guide for Individuals with Disabilities
LED bulbs in products
light bulbs in Home and Garden.
Tips on savings in home heating
Solar Power Systems
U.S. Dept. of Energy energy.gov tips:
  - Insulation, Air Sealing, Shades
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | U.S. Dept of Energy
www.toolbase.org, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's PATH program (Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing)
www.builditgreen.org (click on "green resources" and "fact sheets")
Living Closer to Home at the Missouri Sieerra Club
The GreenSpec Directory (www.buildinggreen.com)
Consumer Report's Greener Choices: Products for a Better Planet (www.greenerchoices.org)
www.epa.gov/pesticides/controlling/garden.htm Integrated Pest Management approach (IPM)
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ at the U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org).

Reduce your impact | WWF
Green Tips | Sierra Club National
10 Ways for Businesses to Save Energy
Summer Energy Tips at PSE&G
Energy Saving Tips at Sustainable Enterprises
Home Energy Efficiency Guide from the Modesto Irrigation District - Water & Power
Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Energy Right.com
Home Insulation

last updated 20 Mar 2014