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Energy Conservation

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago





Lots of little bad habits -- leaving the lights on even after you've left the room, for example, or running the washing machine when it's only half full -- can add up to a heavy carbon footprint for your house, not to mention costly energy bills. Fortunately, there are many things your house can do that cost little or no money that will save your house hundreds. Larger investments like replacing old appliances with ENERGY STAR qualified ones may require more money up front, but will quickly pay for themselves.



  • Turn off everything not in use (lights, TVs, computers, etc.)
  • Unplug appliances like cellphone chargers, computers, DVD players and VCRs, microwaves, printers, satellite receivers, stereos, and other "vampire appliances" that do not have to be turned on all the time. Plug appliances like these into surge protectors so that you can easily turn six appliances off with the flip of a switch.

  • Use energy-efficient features on your appliances, if they have them.

  • Lower the temperature on your water heater to "warm" so that a thermometer held under running water reads no more than 120 degrees.

  • Check the furnace or air conditioner filter, and clean or replace it as needed. Continue to do this monthly. Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

  • During hot months, keep window coverings closed on the south, west, and east sides. In winter, open window coverings to sun in.

  • Active "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while.

  • When cooking, keep the lids on pots, preheat your oven no longer than 10 minutes, and avoid opening the oven door.

  • Set your thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

  • On winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and turn down your thermostat more.

  • In summer, use fans whenever possible instead of air conditioning. The North Campus co-ops charge a flat $50 fee to members who choose to bring their own air conditioners (and offer some tips for members who want to know how to keep their room cool when it's hot outside).

  • About 15% of an average home energy bill goes to heating water. To save hot water:

      • Take five-minute showers instead of baths.

      • Do only full loads when using the clothes washer or dishwasher.

      • Use cold water for laundry.

  • Only heat or cool the rooms you need -- close vents and doors of unused rooms.

  • Always clean the lint trap on your dryer in between loads. You can compost the lint!



  • Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.

  • Seal and weatherstrip your windows and doors to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat or air conditioning that escapes through leaks to the outdoors.

  • A water tank insulation wrap costs about $20 and helps hold the heat inside.

  • Also add pre-cut pipe insulation to exposed pipes going into your water heater.

  • Use mastic (a gooey substance applied with a paintbrush) to seal all exposed ductwork joints in areas such as the attic, crawlspace, or basement.

  • Storm windows can reduce heat lost by single-paned windows by 25 – 50% during the winter.

  • As an alternative, you can improve your windows temporarily with plastic sheeting installed on the inside.

  • Shop for ENERGY STAR Qualified Products, which use 25 - 50% less energy.

  • Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.

  • Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use two-thirds less energy, last up to 10 times longer, and save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. If every U.S. family made the switch, we’d reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds. Use GreenLights USA's getgreen Savings Calculator to find out how much your house can save by replacing conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible. You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.

  • ENERGY STAR certified programmable thermostats automatically adjust your home's temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you're away or sleeping. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save up to $150 annually. 



A home energy audit can help existing owners identify ways to lower utility bills and save money. ICC members have several options for home energy audits. Consider doing one during your next work holiday!

  • The Ann Arbor District Library has energy meters that you can check out to find out just how much electricity your appliances are using. Simply plug the appliance or device into the meter, plug the meter into an outlet and then read the display.

  • The ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick compares your house's energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and provides recommendations for energy-saving home improvements. You will need your last 12 months of utility bills, and some basic information about your house (such as zip code, age, square footage, and number of occupants). If you don't have your bills, contact your utility for a 12-month summary.

  • The Environmental House from Recycle Ann Arbor offers home energy audits through the Home Energy Rating System. For more information, contact Jason Bing at 734-662-6288 or via e-mail.
  • The Home Energy Saver is the first online DIY energy audit tool.



  • Energy Cost Calculators for lighting, appliances, residential and food service equipment, plumbing, and office equipment








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