Stay Warm, Save
Tips to Save Energy From the Sierra Club
Christina Kreitzer, RAW Contributor
January 19, 2006
husband and I have a rule. If one of us suggests turning on (or turning up) our
thermostat, said person must first be wearing a sweater or sweatshirt, long
pants, and socks. Then if said person is still cold, he or she can adjust the
temperature. Since adopting this particular house rule, our energy bill has gone
down significantly and I have an excellent excuse to buy more sweaters.
The fact is, though, there are lots of ways to help you save money and energy
this winter. A new report released yesterday, "Stay Warm, Save Cold Cash,"
identifies simple, immediate steps all consumers can take to reduce their heat
and energy costs as the temperatures get lower. The report also urges the
federal government to increase investments in
efficiency and renewable
energy. These inexpensive, clean solutions are readily available, and can
promptly lower energy bills.
Check out these simple energy saving tips or
view the whole report (.pdf).
Tip #1 – Many hot
water heaters are set too high. Lower yours to 120 degrees and drain some water
a few times a year to reduce sediment.
Tip #2 – Add
insulation to your hot water heater. It can knock up to 15% off the costs of
Tip #3 – Install a
low-flow shower head that will reduce the amount of hot water you use.
Tip #4 – Check for
cracks or gaps in your home and seal them with caulk or weather strips. Tiny
gaps and cracks in an older home are comparable to a one-foot square hole
punched in your wall.
Tip #5 – Tighten
windows and loosen your budget. If all windows were as efficient as the best
ones now available, the average household would save $150 a year!
Tip #6 – Upgrade your
older heating system to one that reduces more pollution in the air. A cheaper
solution is to have your heating vents and ducts cleaned regularly.
Tip #7 – Sweaters are
in this season, so lower your thermostat! Lowering your thermostat by just one
degree can cut at much as 10% of your heating bill.
Tip #8 – Replace your
most frequently used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights which
use only a third as much electricity.
Tip #9 – Turn out your
night light! Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or
fixture so you don't unnecessarily waste energy.
Tip #10 – Replace old
appliances with more efficient models. Look for the Energy Star label as a
minimum. Many states and utility companies even offer a credit or other
incentive to replace outdated appliances.
Tip #11 – Defrost your
freezer. Your freezer has to work harder to keep things cold when frost and ice
Tip #12 – Wash your
clothes with full loads and in cold water. Modern washing machines and
detergents can clean clothes effectively in cold water so you don't have to
waste energy using hot.
For more information: