Share your Home Energy tips

One of our goals at Mapawatt is to be the online community for home energy conservation, efficiency, and clean energy production.  Part of building that community involves individuals sharing their home energy habits in order to help others, learn from others, and start the discussion on how we all can be doing better when it comes to saving energy in homes.

I'll start, but please share your home energy habits and tips in the comments section!

My biggest energy saving methods  in my home are mainly composed of three strategies:

There are also things I'd like to improve on like:

  • Find CFL replacements for the 40-watt bulbs in our ceiling fan overhead lights
  • Get drapes for our windows to block out the hot/cold and keep the cool/heat in
  • Use programmable timers to cut power to our entertainment system so there is no vampire load

Longer term I'd like to:

So enough about my home.  What about you?  What do you do well to save energy, what areas need improvement, and what are some of your plans for the future?

enjoyed our post? let others know: 


We have a 4 bedroom house, the front of the house is heater very well by our furnace the back of the house is a new addition and we installed a free standing island type natural gas fireplace. Since the installation our heating bill has been cut over 65%. We are able to turn the furnace off when we are using the fireplace and visa-verse. We also love the ambiance the the fireplace creates in the living room.
Hi Chris Yes, as anticipated I am going to chip in. Pleased that you are looking at "things to do" and encouraging us to take action. I have just finished my posting on this same topic <a href="" rel="nofollow">Practical Energy Saving Tips for Apartments</a> where we will go though our energy saving possibilities, staring with lighting. But at the heart of it all, you can think about energy, write about energy, complain about energy and even monitor energy all you like, but until you either switch something off, replace something with a new more efficient one or change the physics of how you are using energy in some way - there will be no savings. I am going to avoid my soap box topic of not confusing how much you use, with how much you pay for today - stand by .... We live in an apartment and there are few opportunities to make a big saving. Our total bill is under $30.00 per month. But it is important we do save the small amounts we can. There are 110 million households in the US, many are apartments, cumulatively our 15% - 25% savings do add up. We have found savings in the following areas; Turn things off, CFL lighting, Fridge settings, Heating setting (gas heating but air motor uses 320Watts) computers (sleep settings and put to sleep) and a trace amount of "vampire power" The biggest remaining offender, that I know of, is our DVR - it uses around 30Watts - in standby mode. If I really turn it off it loses the TV schedule. This is not a practical way to use the TV. It costs us $30.00 per year for this poorly designed service from Comcast. I did suggest to my wife that we turned the heating off, no lighting, and went to bed when it got dark - with no lights you may as well be in bed keeping warm .... I did not get to the cold shower proposal. Just kidding - she has been a great supporter - even moving hair drying to another circuit during our recent bed and bath circuit testing - it uses 2000Watts - killed all my CFL comparatives - I think we need a new one, 2000Watts seems quite high. Keep up the good work
You know, someone else mentioned how much power the DVR uses. I thought I had checked it in the past and I didnt think it used that much, but it's time to check it again. See, the power of the community is making me take action against my DVR!
Here is a 3M energy film that also looks good. I'm wondering how hard it would be to install?
I live in the Southeastern US and am trying to decide between thermal shades and solar window film for year-round energy savings. Here are two products I'm looking at: <a href="" rel="nofollow">Thermal shades</a> <a href=";tag=southerngreas-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000Q3PC2W" rel="nofollow">Energy Film Window Film</a> Any thoughts on which will work best for keeping the heat out in the summer and keeping the heat in during the winter?
We put in removable interior storm windows that seal and insulate the windows - they tripe the insulation value of most windows. Since windows typically represent 30% of the heat loss in a home this is valuable. Got them from AEP originally, but they are pricey ($8-9/sq.ft): So I figured out how to make them myself cheaper (around $1/sq.ft.), and then taught a whole bunch of other folks how to make them. See my web page for complete instructions: I'm seeing 500+ page views/week on this page of my site, so people obviously agree that they work! :) These make a HUGE difference in our home, and the home made ones pay for themselves in less than one heating season in Maine!
Check out Guy's Thermal Windows site. It's the real deal.
I did some things backwards. I installed solar PV before doing all the energy savings that I should have. So far this hasn't bitten me ... but if I manage to reduce electrical usage just a bit more, I'll be at net $0 for my electricity bill (this year my annual bill came in at $64!). PG&amp;E won't pay me for excess power that I give them. On the bright side some extra capacity could be handy if I get a plug-in hybrid car at some point. Some of the energy savings over the past couple of years: 1) CFL light bulbs in most places. I have some "dimmable" ones in my dining room, but I'm quite unhappy with them. At full brightness they are not quite bright enough. At maximum dimness they are still too bright. 2) LED lights in a couple of places. Costco had floodlights and candelabra style bulbs at not too outrageous prices. I put one of the former into the backyard motion light, and three of the latter into my front porch light. 3) Replaced Tivo and Comcast set top box (40W each 24x7) with AT&amp;T U-verse service (their set top box is around 20W when active, and drops to 13W when idle). 4) Rest of A/V gear (Receiver, DVD player, Subwoofer, Wii, Roku) moved to a power-strip. Convenience of having just one switch won out over making each of them switchable, but it still means that they are all OFF &amp;gt; 20 hours/day. Next one is not an energy saver ... but it is a cost saver (since my electrical power is billed at different rates on a time-of-use tariff): Installed "No Laundry Mon-Fri 1pm to 7pm" sign above the dryer for summer months (May-&amp;gt;Oct)
I love the "No Laundry" sign!
So far, I've reached about a 50% cut in energy use, and am down to an annual average of 30 kWh a day (an all electricity home, no gas). I've run through the gamut of energy savings methods at home: -energystar appliances (washer, dishwasher, router, etc) -don't under estimate the importance of weather stripping and caulk, it'll do a great deal to reduce your heating/cooling bills with an afternoon of effort and $20 investment -CFL and LED bulbs throughout (I really like Cree's LR6 6 inch can light and the Philips MR16 LED replacements) -when putting in water saving fixtures, look at exactly how much water they save. Faucet aerators for bathrooms should be a miserly 0.5 GPM and American Standard's 'flowise' tri-level showerhead uses just 1.5 GPM vs. a standard water saver's 2.5 GPM. Both additions paid for themselves in my place in just a couple months -supplemented/replaced my baseboard electric with a ductless mini-split heat pump; an 'Art-Cool' unit from LG. These seem to be all the rage in Asia and Europe and I can see why. It's quiet and so far has performed quite well. In all but the coldest nights, it keeps the house quite toasty. When I sized my system, I did a BTU calc on after I beefed up my home's insulation, which I'm waiting to do until after the new year, when I am eligible for more energy tax credits. After the new year, I'll be replacing my older electric water heater with a GE heat-pump water heater in my attached garage, which combined with the beefed up insulation in the attic and in the crawlspace, should bring the annual daily energy use to ~15 kWh. At that size, a 4 KW PV array would be enough to make the house net-zero, without any changes to our lifestyle. I have quite a few writeups on my website (click my name to link to it) on my efforts to make both my work and home net-zero by the end of 2010. Love the site, keep up the great work!


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