Tips for Informed Energy Efficiency

From on August 03, 2007 in CalFinder News

With talk about global warming becoming more common every day, we are all in a position to do our part to save energy. Apart from buying carbon credits to offset plane trips, there are many things we can do everyday to reduce our footprint. Some cost money, but pay off in the long run. Most are free and simple to incorporate into our routine. Here is CalFinder’s take on informed energy efficiency.

Clothes Washer

Resource-efficient clothes washers are an exciting development for consumers interested in energy savings. In addition to energy savings, the water savings from these machines is crucial in areas where water is scarce. Use energy-saving settings and wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. See link for more information.

Clothes Dryer

If your machine has a moisture sensor use it to avoid expensive over drying. Not only will this save energy, it will save wear and tear on your clothes. Dry towels and heavy cottons like blue jeans separately.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up and clear or replace all filters. Replace old systems with energy efficient models with the ENERGY STAR label.

Insulation and Air Sealing

Conduct an energy audit of your home. Look for air leaks around doors and windows, attics, recessed lights, gaps around plumbing and electric penetrations, appliance vents and fireplaces. Then seal them.


Lighting accounts for up to 10% of the energy use in the average American home. Replace your incandescent lights with compact fluorescents (CFLs).

Other Appliances

DVD players and computers are notorious “ghost energy users” that use power when they aren’t turned on. Plug all of your audio, video and computer equipment into accessible power-strips and turn them off when not in use.


According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, replacing an old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model will save about $65. Food will stay fresh longer too!

Stove and Oven

When possible, use a microwave oven, toaster oven, pressure cooker or crock pot. They use less energy than full-sized stoves and ovens. Cook with lids on. Defrost frozen foods before cooking. Use the self-cleaning oven sparingly and only when oven is already hot.

Water Heater and Dishwasher

Water heating is the third largest energy user in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and install an insulating blanket. Consider buying a hot water on-demand system. Install faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and low-flush toilets. Since most of the energy your dishwasher uses is for heating the water, always run your dishwasher with a full load.


Whether replacing windows in an older house or choosing windows for a new house, your decisions on what type of windows to buy will be among the most important decisions you will make in terms of energy use.

Tax Credits

And finally, you should take advantage of available tax credits for installation of energy saving home systems and for purchasing hybrid vehicles made possible through the IRS Energy Policy Act of 2005. Find a residential home energy auditor to help you find where you can save money and energy. This home energy audit directory can help you find an auditor in your area.