Shrink Your Home Energy Bill

How to make your home energy efficient

Curbed, September 20, 2016

In our eco-conscious (and money-conscious) age, there’s really no excuse for wasting energy at home. There are dozens of extremely easy, small steps you can take right now to minimize your use of energy resources and cut back your bill from the utility company. In 2014, families and businesses who simply switched to more energy-efficient appliances shaved a combined $34 billion off their utility bills.

But there’s more to energy-optimization than buying a new fridge. To find the most effective energy-saving tactics at all price points, Curbed checked in with Christina Kielich of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and certified home energy auditor Erlend Kimmich.

Replace your light bulbs

The typical American household spends 5-10 percent of its energy budget on lighting alone, according to the DOE. Incandescent light bulbs might give off a nice homey glow, but only 5 percent of their energy consumption is actually converted into light. Today’s LEDs, on the other hand, are an average of 85 percent more efficient than incandescents.

 Swapping your incandescents with warm-colored LED bulbs can save you $100 every year on energy costs. According to the DOE, “LEDs are projected to reach over 80 percent of all lighting sales by 2030… This would save Americans $26 billion per year in electricity costs, while cutting America’s lighting electricity use by nearly half.”

Unplug energy vampires

Did you know that even after it’s fully charged, leaving your cell phone plugged in continues to pull power from the grid? Same with your laptop, TV, stereo, game console, and any other electronic device. These unused-but-plugged-in devices draw unnecessary energy that really adds up over time.

Get in the habit of unplugging chargers once a device is fully powered-up, and plug your non-battery-powered electronics into power strips that you can turn off when not in use.

 Close your windows

You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but Kimmich says, “You’d be surprised how often people complain about drafts and heat leakages in the winter and you visit and there’s open windows—cords for Christmas lights running out the window or bad seals. In summer, if the accordion wings around the AC don’t fit properly, you might as well put it in the driveway. You’re cooling the outdoors.”

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