101 Energy-Saving Methods, Ranging from the Obvious to the Extraordinary

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I propose you take on the challenge of using at least 12 energy-saving tools and methods by the end of the following calendar year. Increase your self-sufficiency in energy use.

When leaving a room, remember to turn off the lights.

Put a motion or occupancy sensor in a regularly used space after dark.

Make the switch to LED night lights; they consume significantly less power.

Keep your cell phone by your bed and unplug the alarm clock.

Nudge, nudge, wink, turn out the lights, and hit the hay.

Stop watching TV and pick up a book. Turn off the lights and put your brain to work.

In the winter, a heat saver for the dryer is a must. Instead of letting your dryer’s warmth go outside, use it to good use by heating your home.

Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

Connect all your devices (television, VCR, DVD player, stereo system, computer, printer, cable modem, network router) to a single power strip and switch it off after you’re done using it for the night.

Switch to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) instead of traditional incandescent bulbs.

In the winter, you should have the heat turned down. The optimum temperature range is between 68 and 66 degrees.

In the summer, it’s best to keep the temperature up. Ideally, you want it to be between 76 and 87 degrees.

The condensing coil in your fridge has to be cleaned.

A refrigerator with the Energy Star label is a good investment. The fridge is often the highest consumer of electricity in a home.

Replace your desktop with a portable laptop.

When you’re not using your computer, shut it down.

If you aren’t currently using your printer, please turn it off.

Close your computer screen as well.

Your speakers are in the same boat. Turning them off will save electricity.

You should get a new computer since it will save you money on your electricity bill.

The same can be said about flat-screen versus conventional cathode-ray-tube screens. Plasma displays are more efficient than CRTs in terms of energy use.

The “Sleep” feature is available in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Sure, put it to good use.

It’s best to wait until the food has cooled to room temperature before storing it in the fridge. Keep your fridge from having to work any harder than necessary.

Keep your drink pitcher chilled in the fridge and use that instead of ice. Energy expenditures for cooling water are more than those for freezing it.

Make sure your home’s attic and walls are adequately insulated. R-60 insulation in the roof and R-20 in the walls are standard.

Put some insulation around your spare fridge or freezer in the basement or garage.

Reduce the temperature by four degrees and use an electric blanket tonight. Just enough time to warm up your bed, or keep it on low, is all you need.

During the colder months, gather your children into one bedroom, and block off the vents in the others.

Your animal buddies can join you in bed in the cold winter months. They are effective in keeping you warm.

Don’t keep Grandma’s old freezer or fridge in the basement or the garage.

A programmable thermostat can reduce heating costs and electricity use.

Get a few space heaters and use them in the rooms you spend the most time in while keeping the rest of the home cooler.

Turn down the heat and get cozy.

Get cozy with a pal and watch some TV under a blanket.

When you are away from your house, use timers to turn lights on and off automatically.

Instead of turning on every light in the room, just the ones you need will do.

Use your laptop to catch up on your favorite shows instead of turning on the TV.

Use solar energy to warm your water.

Listen to music on your MP3 player instead of the radio.

Window fans can be used on nights like this instead of the air conditioner.

Stay away from carpets during renovations; concrete surfaces require less maintenance.

Upgrade to an Energy Star-certified air conditioner.

Drop down to a smaller place.

Put insulating film on your windows to keep the warm air inside.

Put up a radiant barrier to keep the heat in the attic. It’s a good heat reflector as well.

Regularly checking and replacing the filters in your furnace will run more smoothly and efficiently.

Replace your old furnace with a modern high-efficiency model.

Vegetables, bread (instead of toast), sandwiches (cheese instead of grilled cheese), and milk are foods that are best eaten raw or cold.

Use the sun as an oven. Put away the electric or gas range and make dinner using only the sun’s heat.

Turn off the lights and enjoy dinner by candlelight.

You can save money on heating costs by installing a four-poster bed and hanging blankets over the top and sides.

Protect your home from the elements by sealing up any openings.

Wrap your fridge with 1 1/2 inches of firm insulation and your choice of painted or stained wood veneer, chalkboard, galvanized steel, vinyl tile, or cork tile for a truly unique appliance.

Instruct your young ones not to leave the fridge door open.

Do as you would have others do.

Give your water heater a break, and wash your hands in cold water.

Put heat-reflecting film on all of your windows for maximum energy savings. The film both reflects and absorbs radiant heat.

During the fall and winter, you should relocate your fridge to a more fantastic location, such as a garage, breezeway, or outdoor porch.

If you don’t want to waste money heating your front and back doors, utilize a garage or screened-in porch. This will keep the icy wind from rushing into your home whenever you open the door.

You can further lessen the wind chill by installing a dog door in the vestibule above.

Put in solar lights to illuminate your outside space.

To let the sun into your home during the winter, open the curtains on the north side of your house.

Put in a skylight of the solar tube variety, and never turn on the lights in that room again.

Try out off-the-grid living by leaving solar-powered lamps in the yard during the day and bringing them inside for the evening.

Change out your recessed can lights for LED bulbs. More energy efficient than CFLs.

Don’t make your dog sit through the day with the TV on. Let them read the paper if they need to catch up on the news.

Instead of running the air conditioner, put in a whole-house fan.

Choose a foot-operated, vintage sewing machine.

You can save yourself the trouble of remembering to turn off power strips by plugging them into timers.

Instead of freezing the jam, can it? This also applies to any surplus vegetables or fruits you may have.

Install a wind turbine to produce your electricity.

Put in one (or more) solar air heaters.

Vertical blinds that double as a passive solar heater? Enter SolarChoice.

Invest in a front-loading model with a high Energy Star rating.

Put your clothes through multiple wears before washing them.

When doing laundry, do full loads.

Use cold water to wash your items, or warm water instead of hot.

Before starting the dishwasher, make sure it is complete.

Set the dishwasher to energy-saving mode.

Invest in a dishwasher that uses less energy.

When possible, go for a smaller plate rather than a larger one to reduce the time spent washing dishes.

It will take longer to fill the dishwasher if you only use one glass for drinking water throughout the day.

If you can, use only one bowl or plate per person at each meal to reduce the number of times you run the dishwasher.

It will take longer to fill the dishwasher if you serve meals in the same pots you prepared them in.

Avoid taking showers as often.

Hot water will be available at the faucet faster if an instant water heater is installed.

Keep the heat in by insulating the water supply lines.

Let a few days go by without shaving.

Invest in water-saving shower heads.

Instead of flushing food leftovers down the drain, use a worm bin.

Reduce your shower time to no more than five minutes.

Shade your home with a tree or several.

Turn off the water as you soap up in the shower.

The water savings from having two small children use the same tub is between 10 and 20 gallons.

Involve your children by instructing them to perform simple tasks such as turning off the lights while leaving a room.

A water softener can be set to renew only when necessary.

Avoid overcooking your vegetables by steaming them briefly rather than boiling them.

Take showers together; the other should jump in when one person is finished.

The water your children use to take their showers should be used to wash the dog.

Start your day by taking a cool shower before the water gets too hot.

Swap out your furnace with a baby dragon that can breathe fire. Due to their extreme rarity, this may prove challenging.

Take it easy and start putting away money.

For over seventeen years, licensed architect Dan Bossenbroek has been mindful of the environment by using green building practices in his designs. His specialty is high-performance buildings and sustainable design, and he has years of experience in residential design and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEEDTM AP). In addition, he is a skilled handyman who has updated several historic properties. He suggests it for home remodeling tips and methods of reducing energy consumption.

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