Around the House
Turn Off the Lights
Lighting accounts for approximately 12% of a household's annual electricity bill. By turning off lights when not needed, you can reduce your energy consumption and help reduce air emissions. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save you about $15 a year.
Annual Savings: $15
Adjust Your Thermostat
Using a programmable air-conditioning thermostat or simply adjusting your thermostat during overnight hours or when no one is at home can reduce your cooling and heating costs. To reduce energy consumption, set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer, and at 68 degrees or lower in the winter. When used properly, a programmable thermostat with four temperature settings can save the average household up to $180 per year in energy costs. If all Texas households reduced their energy consumption by using a programmable thermostat, Texans could collectively save up to $1.5 billion annually while reducing energy consumption and air emissions.
Annual Savings: $180
Use Compact Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer, with a lifespan of up to 10,000 hours per bulb. Replacing the incandescent bulbs in your five most frequently used light fixtures with compact fluorescent can save you more than $65 a year in electricity. If every Texas household replaced one light with a compact fluorescent, we could reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by over 900 tons statewide.
Annual Savings: $65
Upgrade Your Home Cooling and Heating System
In Texas, cooling and heating accounts for as much as 50% of annual home energy expenses. By using a properly sized Energy Star cooling and heating system, you can save up to 20% on energy costs and help improve air quality. Collectively, we could reduce energy consumption throughout Texas by more than 16 billion kWh if all Texas households replaced their heating and cooling systems with Energy Star HVAC systems.
Annual Savings: $200
Weatherize Your House
Using proper insulation in your home and sealing off air leaks will help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, while reducing energy consumption and saving money. Weatherizing by using caulk and weather-stripping for seams, cracks, and openings to the outside of your home, can save you 10% on your energy bill. Properly insulating your home, in addition to weatherizing, can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 20%.
Annual Savings: $440
Buy Recycled-Content Products
Buy products made from or packaged in recycled materials. Buy recycled office supplies for home and work. Buying items made from recycled content means fewer virgin materials were used to manufacture the product. You can usually spot products made from recycled paper, plastic, and other materials by reading the labels.
Properly Insulate Your Attic
Proper insulation in an attic can keep the temperature of your house uniform and increase comfort. Adding insulation can lower your heating, cooling, and energy needs. A quick way to determine whether you have enough insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor, you could benefit by adding more. When your home is properly insulated it will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Unplug Electronics, Use a Power Strip, and Upgrade to Energy Star Electronics
Any home electronics cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged. In other words, they use energy even when turned off. Some home electronics use only a few watts of power when turned off while others use as much as 20 to 40 watts. We call this power consumption “standby power.” Unplugging or turning off at a power strip allows you to eliminate the energy used for standby power. When you replace electronics, look for the Energy Star label. Home electronics account for approximately 4% of household electricity use. Electronics that have earned the Energy Star label save energy without sacrificing quality or performance.
Recycle Electronics and Batteries
Electronic waste makes up approximately 2% of the municipal solid waste stream and is steadily increasing. The average household has approximately 24 electronic products, and we depend on six wireless products daily. You can help by reusing, donating, and recycling your electronics. Most rechargeable batteries can be recharged up to 1,000 times, but when they no longer hold a charge–recycle them. If every Texas household recycled five rechargeable batteries a year, we could keep more than 40 million batteries out of landfills. Find a battery drop-off site near you.
Cut Back on Your Amount of Mail
Consumers receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail each year; most of this ends up as solid waste. By taking your name off of marketing mailing lists, you can help reduce waste. You can also help reduce waste by banking online. Most banks, creditors, and utilities offer online statements and online bill payment. Using these features allows you to pay bills anytime, save on postage, and reduce waste.