Purchase a high efficiency water heater
When the time comes to replace your water heater, select a new one with energy efficiency in mind. Electric water heaters are generally more expensive to run. If natural or bottled gas is readily available, a gas-fired heater can save up to 50 percent over the cost of heating water with electricity.
Buy three-way bulbs instead of the single wattage variety
Three-way bulbs are the easiest, least-expensive way to dim lamps when you don’t need full brightness. A three-way bulb will work in any lamp fitted with a switch that seems to have two ON and two OFF positions when a single-wattage bulb is screwed into the light bulb socket.
Buy compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent bulbs
Despite “lamp” in the name, these remarkable lighting devices called CFLs, are actually fluorescent light bulbs.
They cost significantly more than incandescent bulbs, but they last ten times longer. Better yet, they require 75 percent less energy than incandescents to produce the same amount of light. For every 100-watt incandescent bulb you replace with a 36-watt CFL, you can save $25 or more in energy costs over the lifetime of such a bulb.
Those energy-efficient bulbs come in oval and spiral shapes to fit almost any fixture, and they create a more natural light than fluorescent tubes of the past. Some CFLs are designed for outdoor use; they are ideal as replacements for incandescent bulbs in pathway lighting, for example
Use energy saving night-lights
Instead of a 4 watt incandescent night-light, go for the cool, turquoise glow of an electroluminescent model. It consumes only 3/100 of a watt, a 13,000 percent savings in electricity. For a brighter night-light, consider the mini-fluorescent variety. Rated at 7 watts, it puts out as much light as a 20-watt incandescent bulb. Some models include a battery backup system that provides light in a blackout.
Use the lowest wattage light bulbs possible
Never use brighter bulbs than you need for a particular light fixture or task. Experiment with different bulbs to learn how bright a bulb you really need; brightness, expressed in lumens, appears on light bulb packages. When you shop for light bulbs, compare the output in lumens of different brands. High-efficiency bulbs – more lumens per watt – may let you use smaller, less power-hungry bulbs in some lamps.
Retire your old refrigerator
A refrigerator consumes more electricity than any other appliance in your home. But a modern Energy Star model that uses less than half the energy of a 10 year old refrigerator can cut your household energy expenditures by as much as 4.5 percent.
The most efficient refrigerators are 16 to 20 cubic foot models, but if you need more cold storage than that, it’s cheaper to operate one large refrigerator than two small ones. Refrigerators with the freezer on top consume 7-13 percent less electricity than side-by-side models. In the near future, a 20.5 cubic foot refrigerator of this design will use the same power as a 50 watt light bulb. Manual defrost refrigerators sip electricity at half the rate of those that defrost automatically but you must defrost them regularly to realize the savings.
Look for a refrigerator with automatic moisture control. This feature prevents condensation on the outside, eliminating the need for a built in heater to control this nuisance. The heater adds as much as 10 percent to the cost of running the appliance. Locate a recycling company near you to take the old model.
Look for the energy star label when replacing old appliances
When you need a new appliance, look for the Energy Star label. These high-efficiency appliances have a 30 to 90 percent improvement in energy efficiency over those made in the 80s. They cost more than less-efficient models, but the long-term savings more than compensate. For instance, an Energy Star refrigerator will pay for itself in energy savings in just over three years and save you much more money over its lifetime.
When purchasing a gas stove or oven, look for pilotless ignition
Nearly half the money spent on gas for a typical pilot-lit stove or oven goes to keeping the eternal flame of the pilot light burning. An electric ignition system requires no pilot light. In a power failure, you can light the stove and oven with a match.
In a new dishwasher, look for an internal water heater and minimum water usage
A dishwasher that heats its own water can slash 20 percent from the cost of heating water for your entire household. Because the dishwasher raises the water temperature to the recommended 140 degrees and keeps it there, you can lower your water-heater temperature to 120 degrees. If you also select a dishwasher that requires no more than 15 gallons of water per cycle, you’ll reduce both your water consumption and heating costs.
Purchase your old clothes washer with an extra-efficient model
The washing machine competes with the refrigerator for the title of top energy consuming appliance in your home. Over the past several years however, clothes washers have become significantly more efficient. The best are front-loading models; they use a tumble action to move clothes in and out of less water than top-loading machines require. But there are new, efficient top-loaders as well. All clothes washers bearing the Energy Star label cost more but use 35 to 50 percent less water per load than other clothes washers and up to 50 percent less energy.
When shopping for a new clothes washer, look for features that will save you money on every load. They include the option to match water level to the size of the load, and even a minibasket that fits over the agitator to let you wash a few articles of clothing economically. Additionally, there’s a presoak cycle that permits a shorter wash time, a high-pressure spray cycle that replaces full-tub rinsing, and a high-speed spin cycle that extracts more water from clean clothes than a regular spin cycle, reducing drying time to save even more money.
Purchase a gas dryer
If you are in the market for a new clothes dryer, consider one heated by natural gas or propane. Either type is considerably less expensive to run than an electrically heated unit.
A lighter or darker colored roof could save you money.
When the time comes to replace an asphalt-shingle roof, your choice of color can affect your energy bill. In mostly warm, sunny regions, a light-colored roof that reflects heat is the best choice. If you have long, cold winters, consider a dark roof to absorb heat from the sun. The right choice can save up to 10 percent on energy costs.
Repaint with energy savings in mind
Choosing the right paint color for your exterior walls can play a role in your energy-saving strategy. For example, walls painted or stained a dark tone absorb 70 to 90 percent of radiant energy from the sun, a good choice in regions with harsh winters and mild summers. Lighter colors, which reflect heat, are more suitable for brutally hot summers and moderate winters.
Match the air conditioner to the room
Choosing an air conditioner of the correct capacity for a room assures that you get the most from your energy dollar. Select a unit according to the total area to be cooled.
Air-conditioning capacity, a form of refrigeration, is measured either in British Thermal Units per hour or in tons. (A ton of refrigeration absorbs in 24 hours a quantity of heat that would melt 2,000 pounds of ice, about 240,000 BTUs) A 1-ton unit is comparable to one rated at 10,000 BTUs per hour.
Get a Geothermal Heat Pump to utilyze the energy in the ground.