Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 ways to save energy (and money!)

OK, so I totally realize that this post may be a yawn-inducer for some of you, but if you're looking for some totally easy ways to save some energy as the weather grows colder, stick with me for a minute.

I've always got an eye on energy efficiency and saving money because part of my job as an engineer is to find areas where a facility can cut down on their energy consumption.  When I go home at the end of the day, I keep an eye out for ways to save money on our utility bills too!

I linked up to several savings calculators below to help you determine your energy savings.  I should point out that the actual $ amount that you save for each change you implement will depend on how much you pay for your energy (electricity/natural gas etc).  You can find out your energy rates by looking at your utility bills.  Confused?  Shoot me an email and I'll help you figure it out.

#1: Use CFLs
I'm sure that you've probably seen those cute little curly-q light bulbs around town.  Those guys are actually "compact fluorescent lights" (aka CFLs), and they will save you a bundle on your energy bills. 

Even though they cost $2-4 per bulb, they usually pay for themselves in less than a year because they use about 4 times less energy than normal light bulbs!  They also last about 10 times longer too, which means that you'll have to dig out the ladder to replace that darn blown bulb a lot less often than you normally would.  Hallelujah!

This energy savings calculator will help you to estimate how much you'll be saving if you switch out your conventional light bulbs for CFLs.  Energy Star's website on efficient lighting is a great resource for more information is you're interested!

#2: Get a programmable thermostat
I am someone who is notorious for being cold, so it's no surprise that I like keeping my house at a balmy 72 degrees during the winter.  However, since I'm at work five days the week and my doggies have thick furry coats, I program my thermostat to let my house get cooler when I'm not around.  This saves money because my furnace has to do less work to keep my house at a higher temperature.

Programmable thermostats let you decide what temperature you want your house to be at, and when you want it to happen.  I set my thermostat back during the day while I'm at work.  Other people may choose to set it back at night.  Some people may do both!  As long as you program your thermostat to set back your temperatures at some point, you will save energy.

This Energy Star savings excel-based calculator will help you to determine how much money you could save by installing and using a programmable thermostat.  Still need convincing?  Check out Energy Star's website on programmable thermostats for more information.

#3: Turn down the temperature on your washing machine
Unless you have really disgustingly dirty stuff to wash, you can probably get away with washing your clothes in cold water.  I do this all the time and my clothes always come out squeaky clean.

Using colder water means that you don't have to use as much energy heat it up to begin with.  It takes a lot of energy to heat up water, so it's no surprise that a large portion of a washing machine's energy consumption can come from using heated water.  This energy calculator can help you estimate how much energy you could save just by adjusting the temperature of your washing machine settings.

So there you have it, three totally painless and easy ways to cut down on your energy consumption this year.  Got any more suggestions for saving energy?  Leave a comment below!


  1. Great Tips, I'm a big fan of cold water washes and rack drying cuts down on the bills tremendously!

    1. Good call with the rack drying! It also makes your house smell all fresh and wonderful :)

  2. We only run the washer/dryer and dishwasher during off-peak $$ hours!

  3. i hear if you switch to an energy service company (a company that supplies your energy instead of the utility) you can also save on delivery sales tax, tariff charges and rates. oh, you don't know of any energy service companies in your area? i hear is one. :)

    shameless plug!

    1. Haha, there is nothing wrong with a little self promotion ;)

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