Things You Can Do at Home

These are some brief pointers on what you can do at home:


You can increase the comfort of your home while reducing your heating and cooling needs by up to 30% by investing just a few hundred dollars in proper insulation and weatherization products.

Heating & Cooling
Insulating ducts that are in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost effective. If you are buying a new duct system, consider one that comes with insulation already installed. If you use electricity to heat your home, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system. Look into solar heating. Solar can cut your energy costs up to 50%.

Water Heating
There are 4 ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, and buy a new, more efficient water heater. A family of 4, each showering for 5 minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water a week; this is enough for a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person! You can cut that amount in half simply by using low-flow nonaerating showerheads and faucets (Department of Energy, 2002).

If your home has single-pane windows, as almost half of U.S. homes do, consider replacing them with dual-paned windows. If you can't replace your windows, you can shade your windows in the summer and seal any drafts or leaks in the winter to save energy.


Shading and evaporative cooling from trees can reduce the air temperature around your home and save cooling costs in the summer. Deciduous trees planted on the south and on the west will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter.

Increasing your lighting efficiency is one of the fastest ways to decrease your energy bills. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last 6 to 10 times longer. Although fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves by saving energy over their lifetime. And, of course, turn off lights when you're not in the room!


When you do have to shop for a new appliance, look for the Energy Star® label. Energy Star® appliances have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy as being the most energy-efficient products in their classes. They usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount. The Department of Energy appliance shopping guide lists some of the major appliances that carry the Energy Star® label and provides helpful information on what to look for when shopping for an appliance.

Also, only use your appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, etc) when they are full. Open the dishwasher door and let your dishes dry naturally, clean your refrigerator coils regularly, and set your computer to energy saving mode that powers off when not in use.