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Pick 5: Save Electricity!

2009 October 8

Hey Pick 5ers,  it’s time again for you to share what you’ve done, how you did it, etc.  Today we cover action #3: save electricity. Please share your stories as comments below.  If you haven’t done it yet, Pick 5 for the Environment and then come back to comment. You can also still share how you save water! and how you commute without polluting.
When I needed a new refrigerator, I looked for an Energy Star label before making my final decision because it will help me save on electricity.

My electric company suggests that using electricity during off peak hours (9:00 pm- 6:00am weekdays and anytime on weekends) is much cheaper. I am now doing laundry during the off peak hours; this is also a way to help save electricity.

I’ve also changed my light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.  Not only am I going to save on my electric bill, but I’m also saving the environment. It has cost me a little more, but in the long run they will last longer.

I no longer leave my outside lights on: I’ve replaced them with solar lights. I’ve also unplugged items not being used throughout my home, along with turning off unused items.

Can’t wait to receive next month’s electric bill to see how much I have saved!

Now it’s your turn: How do you save electricity? If you’re not sure how, learn more on EPA’s site. http://www.epa.gov/Energy/electricity.html

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

48 Responses leave one →
  1. James Benson permalink
    October 8, 2009

    When I discuss appliances with individuals, I talk about the two price tags that come with them. There is the stores price tag, and then there is the Utility/energy price tag. A cheaper appliance may seam appealing, however the consumed energy will cost more in the long run. An EnergyStar appliance may cost more up front, but energy savings over the life time of the appliance will prove to be money well spent.

  2. Larry permalink
    October 8, 2009

    We have started by replacing all the bulbs with CFL bulbs. Next, we turned down the thermostat on the hot water heater about 5 degrees. We have unplugged all unnecessary appliances, lamps, etc. We are now turning our computers off every day and try to share one instead of three unless we’re working on individual projects. We wash our clothes with cold water. We are about to have a certified energy rater come do a home energy audit. One more thing we did, we bought a meter which monitors the appliances and energy useage in the house…..a monitor actually computes how much we’re using an hour. It has made us VERY aware now of what costs what! In the end, boys ARE cheaper!

  3. Aysegul permalink
    October 8, 2009

    We’ve replaced all our bulbs with CFL bulbs, including the dining room chandelier which actually looks pretty neat. We’ve installed “Solatubes” in the living room and bathrooms and now don’t have to turn on a light in those rooms, until the evening.
    We still have to work on our appliances though..

  4. Edgardo Berraz permalink
    October 8, 2009

    In the first place,replacing clear bulbs for CFL.Second:don’t use machines with high grade of consum,such conditioning airs,more than in extremely conditions of weather.I planted a very leafed trees in the front of my bedroom and the temperature fall five degrees in summer.In winter they loss their leaves and sun can warming the room.Of course, in my town,winters are so soft,but anywhere it can help to save energy.However I nevertheless left a light on if it’s not necessary.

  5. Tim permalink
    October 8, 2009

    I’ve long sense sealed my home with calking and spray foam insulation. The house has all CFL’s including exterior. I have a home shop with poor lighting and have installed T-8 lighting to be controlled from one power stripon (this includes a radio). I also use a power strip for all computer functions which allows the ability to simply unplug it. I have horses and the use of a troff heater is extremly expensive therefore this year I plan on installing a timer to opperate only during off peak hours. With an all elect house I’m forced to use fuel left behind by the Mountain Bark Beetle which is wiping out our forests.

  6. Ricardo permalink
    October 8, 2009

    By installing energy efficient lighting in the workplace, we have reduced our energy bill by half and have saved hundreds of dollars this year, twice as much as what the auditor estimated! We also use an appliance monitor to check our energy consumption. When it is sunny out, instead of cranking up appliances, we heat up our lunch in a solar oven.

  7. Karyn permalink
    October 8, 2009

    Saving the energy is important & it saves the Earth!

    I “burn daylight”. I ‘race’ against the sun in errands.
    I turn on a lamp in the evening and turn it off when I PERMANENTLY leave the room.
    We save movie theaters for people without Internet
    we watch movies/t.v. online for FREE {check it out!
    NO CABLE BILL TO WORRY ABOUT… :D
    Our old house has nearly all new windows.
    My bedroom has a recycled window shade as an insulated wall (where my window faces a wall).
    My insulated curtains keep the sun out and heat in.
    OUR ELECTRIC BILL PAYS US FOR THESE TRICKS<-

    I prefer to broom sweep than use a vacuum.
    (It has to do with the last 3 vacs. breaking often.)
    I sweep out our garage when the wind is 50 miles an hour outside…where does all the dirt go?

    I love ‘walking’ everywhere in Butler City;Butler, PA.
    If I need to go by vehicle to get to a place I use “the Bus” or my insurance company’s cab service.
    I plan on attending college online for a few hours.
    (It saves time,stress, and unnecessary walking.)

    I make my washer use warm/cold vs hot water.
    I mix loads (not colors!) with the rest of my family.
    We all get our clothes clean and it saves water.
    My family prefers ankle-deep baths vs showers.
    (It has to do with grandma’s near freezing.)

    I use strong (not overwhelming) scented candles -not burned- to make my home smell like church.
    This may sound gross…we only flush for # 2.
    OUR SEWAGE BILL THANKED US FOR THIS IDEA<-

  8. Rose permalink
    October 8, 2009

    We put all of our electronics on power strips. When the kids leave the family room or computer/game room, the rule is “Last one out turns it off”. All they have to do is hit the button on the power strip and ALL is shut down.
    No wasting electricity on standby.
    And, of course, nothing but CFLs here.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    October 8, 2009

    THE U.S. Nuclear Federal agencies as well as the Atomic community ignore far advance studies in mathematical safe use of extreme Nuclear equations and deeper radiation developement.But this is banned from discussion.This is an issue forbidden for blogs.This is the black eye for the green movement.

  10. jerry a. Myers permalink
    October 8, 2009

    THE U.S. Nuclear Federal agencies as well as the Atomic community ignore far advance studies in mathematical safe use of extreme Nuclear equations and deeper radiation developement.But this is banned from discussion.This is an issue forbidden for blogs.This is the black eye for the green movement.

  11. jerry a. Myers permalink
    October 8, 2009

    IF the GREEN movement is serious about safer and more cleanness in the U.S. and global community, then why is the extreme logical mathematical simulation of harmeless Nuclear far advance studies being ignored.IT is obvious that safer extreme use of the Nuclear research, far deeper space studies and defense missile research is not top priority in the United States.Nor in the mass media on this topic.

  12. jerry a. Myers permalink
    October 8, 2009

    THE U.S. Federal Nuclear, Atomic and space agencies can produce far deeper and far extreme levels of Nuclear studies on space travel, radiation,radioactivity,weapons and human exposure with safe use of mathematical numeral equations.But the U.S. select the more dangerous approach in far Nuclear advancement.This is not an media friendly issue.This is the most banned topic in America.Even The GREEN movement can not expose this.

  13. Marc permalink
    October 8, 2009

    My fridge is almost 15 years old but still going strong – It’s not as efficient as newer models and as soon as it breaks down, I look forward to a more efficient model. In the mean time, I’ve found that if I clean the condenser coils every 6 months and I keep the fridge fairly stocked with liquids, it uses a lot less energy. I’ve put most of my plug-in loads on power strips which I always turn off when not in use – I really don’t care if the clock is wrong on my VCR anyway. Since I’ve installed Solar PV panels on my roof, I ‘ve had no electric bill ! as a matter of fact, I’ve been so diligent about conserving electricity, I now have a surplus of energy in my utility account. I’m down to an average usage of around 200 kwH per month. Next, I’ll install a solar thermal collector and watch my gas water heating bill shrink to near nothing. I love solar energy – It’s reliable.

  14. Ranjani Bobburi permalink
    October 9, 2009

    Regular dusting and getting rid of even minute dust particles from electric bulbs, can save quite a lot of energy.
    I do the same dusting on regular basis.

  15. RUDI permalink
    October 9, 2009

    I work in an office with windows all around. When the sun is out or there are no clouds we don’t need electric lights so I shut them off. I am also the first in the office so I only turn on my desk lamp which saves the twenty ceiling lights from being turned on. There are people who still insist on turning on the lights but they are on their way to retirement! If you are a homeowner (father) you always shut out the lights when not needed because you see the bills. Employees have to take the responsibility to protect the environment by conserving electricity whenever they can!

  16. BeWaterWise Rep permalink
    October 9, 2009

    Conserving electricity can be done at home by turning off electrical appliances when not in use, using energy efficient lights, using fans instead of air conditioners and many others. Also using alternate sources of energy like solar power helps to save water and will also cut down on the electricity bill! http://j.mp/2RKHXa will give you some water-saving tips!

  17. Linda permalink
    October 9, 2009

    At work, I use a lamp with a CFL bulb; it provides plenty of light for my sensitive eyes and is much easier to work under than the 3 glaring fluorescent fixtures that flood my very small office with too much light to bear; if I leave the office, I turn it off. When I leave for the day, I turn off my power strip and power consumption in my office drops to 0 until I’m back at work.

    At home, we have replaced incandescents with CFLs as the old lamps burn out; the CFLs seem to last much longer and give plenty of light for our needs. Likewise with our major appliances; as they go bad (thus far the list includes the stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine), we’ve replaced with energy star models rather than repairing the old ones. The porch lights have been replaced with motion sensor lamps, so the lights come on only when needed–no more “Oops, I forgot to turn them off”. The computer system is only turned on when it’s in use; likewise the lights, TV, and pretty much everything else. If it’s not being used, turn it off. Our power bill has dropped significantly in the past two years alone, and I hope to continue the trend.

  18. Lee permalink
    October 9, 2009

    There are little things, and bigger things I do to save electricity. Small ones are having all compact fluorescent lights, insulating window shades, weather stripping around vents, hatches, etc., foaming openings where pipes come in, foam inserts in wall outlets, having efficient windows, using a drying rack instead of my clothes dryer, washing in cold water, using e-star appliances, not running the dishwasher without a full load, using a microwave more than an oven, efficient ceiling fan. The biggest electricity user in my house is heating, in the Colorado mountains. I keep the heat at 50 at night and while at work, and at 65 while I’m home, just in the rooms I’m in. A programmable thermostat is great because it can be warm when I’m home, turn down before I go to bed… and it doesnt rely on me remembering to turn the heat down.

  19. Johnny R. permalink
    October 9, 2009

    The only effective long term way to save electricity is to peacefully reduce the human population and thereby reduce the need for electricity. But even that won’t succeed if we fail to shut down the coal-fired power plants and stop their spewing of tons of toxic smoke up into the atmosphere and around the World.

  20. nick permalink
    October 9, 2009

    all CFL bulbs especially outdoors
    solar hot water system

  21. Robin permalink
    October 9, 2009

    I am proud to say that it is habit, for our whole family, to turn off all lights when leaving a room, unplugging all appliances when not in use, and reading more than using electronics!

    We have a long way to go, I’m sure, but we are getting better!

  22. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    October 10, 2009

    My house uses the energy efficient light bulbs and energy star appliances. The tv stays off most of the time and the lights are on only if someone is in the room. I am a member of People First, California, Orange County Chapter. Our Chapter is supporting the work of the California Air Resources Board on several projects including emissions reductions from commercial refrigerants and zero emission vehicles. The work the California Air Resources Board is doing will greatly reduce emissions, use less electricity, and result in less expensive operating costs necause it cost less to operate clean than it does to operate dirty. Many disabled persons also benefit because many have asthma and other chronic health problems that are made worse by pollution. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  23. Rajesh permalink
    October 11, 2009

    Save electricity is a good thing for all. As all of you know why? So I am really thankful to all of you. cause so many people are responding to their thoughts to save electricity. Good going but we need to long way to go.

  24. Steve permalink
    October 11, 2009

    Removing window screens allows about 25% more light and more solar gain on south facing windows.

  25. Yamilette permalink
    October 13, 2009

    At home, we use the energy efficient light bulbs and energy star appliances. Also, we have a solar water heater and a gas stove. Always, turn off the lights if the rooms are empty.

  26. gerri-lynn permalink
    October 15, 2009

    For starters, all the lightbulbs have been changed over to CFL. We also make a conscience effort to make sure no lights or electronics are left on when not in use.

    In the bathrooms I have placed a water bottle (filled with sand) in the toilet tank. That helps to save water everytime you flush. We also have a standing rule; if its yellow, let it mellow- brown, flush it down! I rent, so I don’t see the savings but I’m sure the landlord appreciates it.

    I recycle everything!!!! I even have seperate recepticals for each catagory (plastic, paper, glass/aluminum) in my kitchen. This makes it easier for the other memebers of the family to do their part. I try very hard to reuse what I can and repurpose if possible.

  27. Maranda permalink
    October 16, 2009

    at home we are unplugging and turning off unused items….we are trying to get more outdoor activities in and less time indoors using electricity.

  28. Jemma permalink
    October 21, 2009

    We replaced all bulbs with flourescent ones and bought an energy star water heater, which we keep on the energy saver setting. We keep our heater thermostats set to 55 or 60 F in the winter and bundle up. We unplug any appliance we’re not using, and turn off our computers when we’re done with them. We also try not to turn on lights inside during daylight hours.

  29. Simple permalink
    October 23, 2009

    Energy efficient appliances can help. Manufacturing company s have risen to the occasion and produced energy efficient products. is really what you need check some out here In today’s’ recession driven economy, most people are looking for ways to save money. The modern household is searching every nook and cranny of their already strained budget to find hidden dollars and cents that can be eliminated without too much stress.

    residential solar energy
    diy solar water heater
    build a wind generator

  30. Joseph Zummach permalink
    November 19, 2009

    I have been living in a community dedicated to sustainable living for eight years now, with 15 people we are incorporated with the state of New Mexico as a nonprofit educational organization, our 501c3 application is pending approval by the IRS. We have been totally off the grid from the start every one who lives here has created their own solar electric system tailored to their needs. The well pump is powered by a Photovoltaic system Which irrigates a small garden and orchard. Otherwise my house has a single washing sink with grey water out flow that waters trees in the yard and a shower that drains into the garden, laundry is the last need to be fully integrated in to this sustainable plan. With an outhouse for human waste we pretty much have the water use pared down. Also where I work on the neighbors landscaping I use drip irrigation and timed electric valves to save water. On the land trust we have three acres of irrigable land with a water right to the irrigation canal or acequia as we call it here in New Mexico, that taps the river up stream. The acequia is unlined but creates a fabulous riparian habitat along its course, and is I am sure responsible for much aquifer recharge. This I believe is a good example of where conservation in the absolute sense, by lining the ditch with concrete, would actually mean a greater loss to the environment and quality of life in the community. For now two of the irrigable acres are dedicated to pasture for horses and burros, which are used for not only recreation but for transportation and as draft animals, we are planning now for the post petroleum era. We also plan to eventually rotate the pasture into cultivation of food as the animal manure increases the fertility.

    We belong to an organic growers Coop and sell or trade much of our surplus locally. Mostly we do educational outreach around organic gardening, Permaculture water harvesting techniques, and riparian restoration. Also some of the members of the community practice Aruvedic and naturopathic healing modalities and share these skills in the community. The idea is to create a robust and locally integrated way of life, that is not so dependent on systems of industrial supply, systems that may seem invulnerable now but could easily be interrupted in the event of catastrophic climate change, and or political instability.

    The need to build a sustainable model for human life is essential at this time, and diverse models need to be allowed space to evolve. I think of the possibility of streamlining the process of forming Land Trusts in order to create options for people of limited means to have stable living arrangements is urgent. I have direct experience with this as a solution, by way of empowerment, that could overcome poverty and homelessness, better than welfare and other government aid programs. The buffer provided by the land trust allowed me to build a home without the taking on the additional burden of buying real estate and being at the mercy of market forces to meet my basic housing needs. Of course I forfeited the possibility of speculative gain on my house, but watching the collapse of the real estate market recently, I feel fortunate. This is one model of many possible models that could be encouraged, which might lend stability to communities, by virtue of diversity.

    In building my house I was able to explore various options for solar design, I settled on a low-tech passive system with lots of thermal ballast, in the form of an adobe and rock hearth, which can also be heated using a wood fire. I have a scaled down 50 watt solar electric panel and one deep cycle marine battery. I kept the wiring 12 volt, and since the house is small, and the whole system is scaled down this worked well, with many of the components recycled from old cars and buses. By keeping the building small 300 sq feet I saved a great deal on materials, and by using mostly recycled materials including salvage lumber, keeping an eye out for toxics in selecting my materials, with cardboard for insulation, salvaged roofing, that I also used for siding and mud plaster for the interior. I even found a white clay that works for finish coat when mixed with wheat paste. The concept for my house is one that could be adapted to third world economic conditions with some technical support and micro financing. I have no formal education in architecture, yet have pursued building and renovation as a hobby for most life, studying solar design on my own, testing some of my own ideas on structures I have built myself, four of them to date.

    The above approaches run up against the power structures of our current industrial society in numerous ways. First my house would be considered “substandard” while I don’t fear code inspectors in our remote rural locale, I know I would be cited on numerous counts from the type of foundations, I refused to use concrete a high Co2 impact material. Along with this my lack of indoor toilet, and my use of 12V wiring, all of these being crucial areas of conservation with regards to resources. Although I think building codes have some validity in terms of safety, a great deal of what is written into codes is little more than enforced consumption.

    Another example is the way the local Post Office, and Health Clinic all require you to have at least two utility receipts to prove residency. A voter registration card is not enough, a land line phone bill will do for one, but you see what I mean, how consumption is the defining characteristic of modern life, determining access to even basic services. So someone who like me relies on their own solar power for example with a little firewood to supplement the solar heating, is automatically disqualified from basic services. Some argue that these regulations are written to assure that residents are contributing to the local tax base. Here we hit the core dysfunction of this economy, where we as human beings are simply defined as production consumption units. In other words we are seen purely as a way to pump money through the system. This reduction to absurdity is not questioned, and in fact is mostly internalized with grim resignation.

    The mentality of exploitation is subtle and pervasive, here we live in the most affluent country in the world and supposedly the freest. Yet how free are we with our lives mortgaged to a system, which does not even respect our humanity at the most basic level, a structure of value that so narrows and trivializes the importance of human life. Sustainability is not a matter of finding the right fixes of gismos to make the system work more efficiently. It requires that we question this structure that nether respects our intrinsic value as human beings, or that of the environment which supports us.

  31. denisefaison permalink
    November 20, 2009

    i enjoined all of thereplys and i learned a great deal about saving energy.it should help me alot when i move into my new home in the near future.thankyou.

  32. Paul Bogaars permalink
    November 21, 2009

    Happy thank’s giving to all

    I recently learned of a product, and aplyed it to my own air conditioner system,it’s a product made by simix solutions and here is how it works, they will come out to clean you exterior unit (coils and fins)with a all green cleaner, i was really suprised to see how much dirt came out of the unit,then once the unit is dry they apply a coating to the whole inside and out side of the unit,witch protects all parts for 3 years.
    They claim that you can on average save 15 to 20 % on your elecrtic bill,it makes sense after all the dirt and debris coming out of the fins, now the unit can circulate air like it where new.
    It’s well know fact that airconditioners cosume the most electric in any home.
    So for anyone to save check them out.
    Paul Bogaars

  33. Chris permalink
    December 22, 2009

    I now save electricity since I installed a power saver you have to be careful because of the scams out there of products but I did my research and this one is the real deal more info on the idea. If you go with a different product of its kind just be careful

  34. Steve permalink
    January 6, 2010

    Energy is expensive. One of the best ways to save energy costs is to tint the windows in your home or office as well. It is one product that will pay for itself over time.

  35. Allison MacArthur-Ruesink permalink
    January 7, 2010

    I turn lights off when I leave the room and eliminate “vampire” energy waste by completely shutting off home computers, turn down the heat etc when I leave the house for long periods.

  36. Mary permalink
    January 30, 2010

    As a user of Window Tinting Film I am happy with the energy savings of the film we chose, this is the same film used on Princeton University’s Green Building Project.

    Window Film has different ways to save energy and money, it will reduce the temperature coming into our home by up to 15 degrees, reduce glare and stop the damage the sun was causing to my home furnishings and floor coverings.

    We enjoy the ability to keep our windows shades open in the summertime now instead of having to keep them closed because of the heat coming into our home, I would recommend to anyone to check out any company in your area for window film, most will show you with a heat lamp and some type of meter how well the different shades of film will do to reduce the heat coming in.

    If you want to learn more about the window films we picked check out there website.

    Home Window Tinting

  37. Jimmy permalink
    March 2, 2010

    I agree with the saving electricity is a good thing for all. So I’m really thankful to all of you. cause so many people are responding to their thoughts to save electricity. Good going but we need to long way to go.
    Best Regards,

  38. Ben Dicosta permalink
    June 17, 2010

    Really interesting articles. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing a nice info.

  39. Arlette Adoreno permalink
    June 25, 2010

    Thanks for the information! This is a great help. I should try this, as well as others. Not only you will save electricity but also save the environment. Keep sharing helpful information! :)

  40. Steve permalink
    July 26, 2010

    When I moved to my new house I made sure all my new appliances were ‘super’ energy star rated. I didn’t just look for the ones that had high ratings on the yellow sticker, I chose from the best two or three energy usage wise.

    If I could afford to upgrade my central air conditioner it would really make a difference too!

    Steven

  41. Juliana Morales permalink
    September 12, 2010

    I just walk early morning to the office, I turn off any electronic device when am not home

  42. Window Blinds permalink
    November 15, 2010

    Nice Blog!

  43. rvsolarsupply permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Energy Matters stocks one of the largest ranges of top quality 12 volt solar

  44. Keith permalink
    March 14, 2011

    Thanks for the information! I think this is really great stuff. Many people I think would agree and can benefit from this!

    Keith

  45. Vendy permalink
    March 14, 2011

    Saving electricity is simple, just turn off any electronic and change from common bulbs to solar lights. Its more energy saving and also money saving.

  46. Lucid Dream permalink
    March 22, 2011

    I will admit for awhile I didn’t care about the environment all that much. I started paying more attention when people started saying that what I was doing is going to affect my family in the generations ahead.

    So I took a plan of action. It took me over a year, but I’d like to think I live a more eco friendly lifestyle now. I bought light bulbs that last like a decade I think it said, and they use like half the normal electricity as a normal bulb. I also have a more eco friendly toilet as well as shower head.

    I’m planning on buying a smart car eventually, just on most of the models the safety features need to be tuned up a bit. I don’t mind saving the environment, but I’d like my car to at least not feel like a toaster on wheels :)

    If you put the effort into it, being eco friendly is very easy, it costs some money, but eventually you will feel good about it.

    This summers project is some solar panels on my roof! I can’t wait.

  47. April 26, 2012

    Save Electricity is a great topic.
    We should save Electricity, it is very important.
    Thanks for this nice sharing.

  48. May 30, 2012

    Wall insulation is an important part regarding home energy reductions. It helps to keep on your home cool in the summer as well as pleasant during the cold months. It does this by using a limited amount of energy sources in the home.

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