Spring into Energy Savings

By Brittney Gordon

These past two weeks has brought unusually high temperatures to the D.C. area and I am taking full advantage of the sunny weather. I am always excited about the coming of spring and this early start motivates me to shake up my normal routine and start to do some of the things that I have been putting off. For me that includes some energy saving moves that will save my family money and help protect our environment from climate change.

If you are feeling inspired to do the same, here are a few easy tips:

  • Change to More Efficient Light Bulbs: I still have a couple of incandescent bulbs hanging around the house and it is high time that I change them to Energy Star qualified models. Energy Star qualified lighting not only uses less energy, but also produces approximately 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, so your cooling bills will be reduced, too.
  • Find the Best Thermostat Settings: If you have a programmable thermostat, program it to work around your family’s spring schedule—set it a few degrees higher when no one is home, so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house.
  • Use Ceiling Fans: Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room make sure to turn off the fan.
  • Maximize Shade: Pull the curtains and shades closed before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior of your home. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to serve as shade.
  • Check Air Conditioner Filters: Check your cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. A good rule is to change the filter at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool—wasting energy. Also, remember to have your system serviced annually to ensure it’s running at optimum efficiency for money and energy savings.

For more information on how you can save energy this spring, check out Energy Star’s website for lots of great tips.

About the author: Brittney Gordon works on the communications team for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. She began working for EPA in 2010 after a career in broadcast journalism.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

How to Keep Your Home Electricity Use Down (While Still Enjoying Your Favorite Gadgets!)

By Denise Durrett

Quick! Do a mental scan of your house or apartment and guess the number of products you have that are continuously drawing power. Well, the typical home has 40! Quite a few of these products are consumer electronics—and they may be eating up a larger chunk of your energy bills than you think.

Energy used for consumer electronics and small appliances has increased by 20 percent since 2005— and TVs and PCs account for a lot of that increase. In fact, the largest high-resolution TVs can use as much electricity as a new conventional refrigerator. Just over 20 years ago, the average American home had two TV sets. Today, more than half of homes have three or more TVs. Add the fact that many of those old TVs are replaced by big, flat-panel versions that use double the energy, and you can start to see the energy use pile up. This increased energy use means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in our environment, which contributes to the effects of climate change.

Looking to trim your energy bills? Try these tips:

  1. Choose ENERGY STAR. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on products in over 60 different categories for your home, including electronics and office equipment. Visit energy star for TVs recognized as ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient. These are the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR and represent the leading edge in energy efficient products.
  2. Use a powerstrip. Plug electronics and computer equipment into a power strip with an on/off switch and turn it off when you are not using the products.
  3. Sleep is good! Activate power management features on computers and monitors to place them in a low-power sleep mode after a set time of inactivity to reduce power consumption.
  4. Turn it off. Turn off computers and monitors if you will be away for more than two hours. It doesn’t harm your computer and will save energy.
  5. Laptops are more efficient. If a laptop will meet your needs, choose one over a desktop. Laptops are 2.5 to 3 times more efficient than desktop computers.
  6. Visit energy star for the latest energy-saving news, products, and ideas for your home.

About the author: Denise Durrett is a communications team member with EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.