Skip to main content

NC State Extension

Energy Saving Strategies

en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

By implementing these Energy Saving Strategies you can lower your utility bills and help the planet:

Find and Seal Air Leaks – The potential energy savings from reducing air leaks ranges from 5 to 30% per year. By sealing air leaks you will save money and your home will likely feel less drafty and more comfortable. Learn how HERE and HERE.

Programmable Thermostat – Why run your central air conditioning or furnace at the same temperatures round-the-clock when you’re not home most of the day? Program your thermostat to reflect your schedule. A programmable thermostat that adjusts temperatures automatically costs $60 – $120, but can save you about $180 a year, according to Energy Star. Smart thermostats are pricier, varying from $275 to $400, but they let you change settings remotely anywhere you have an Internet connection. Some smart thermostats have monitoring systems that track energy use in various circuits around the house, so you can make adjustments where needed. Before taking that plunge, consider smartphone apps that allow you to dim lights and control thermostats, power strips and other connected devices from your phone. (Don’t forget to regularly clean or replace your A/C and heating filters to save additional electricity and money.)

Your Television—While newer televisions use less energy than older models, you can increase the savings even more. Go to your TV’s picture set-up menu and choose the “home” or “standard” screen setting – the “vivid” or “retail” settings are unnecessarily bright and burn up to 20 percent more power. Don’t forget to disable the “quick start” function that allows your TV to boot up a few seconds faster, but eats significantly more power during the 19 hours or so your TV is in standby mode but not being used.

DVR set-top box—The set-top box hooked up to your television to deliver pay-TV services from cable and satellite companies may well use more energy than your big screen TV alone (especially true for DVR set-top boxes). But the industry is working hard to bring more-efficient options to the market. Ask your service provider for an ENERGY STAR™ version 3 and if you have multiple TVs, request a whole home DVR for your main TV and for the others, request a thin client that uses far less power than a DVR and still allows you to watch live or recorded shows.

Game console —Approximately half of U.S. households have a video game console and while the latest models are better at reducing power when idle, they could still consume as much electricity as your fridge if left on when the TV is turned off. With the new Xbox One and PS4, go into the unit’s menu to ensure the automatic power-down feature is enabled and set for one hour of inactivity or less. Even then, Xbox One’s “Instant on” and PS4’s standby mode are configured by default to remain connected to the internet, which can represent half their total energy use, so consider disabling those features. With older consoles, also set the menu to power down after one hour of inactivity or less. And don’t stream video with your game console because it requires up to 30 times more energy to play a movie than such devices as a smart TV or an external box like Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV.

Computer settings—A typical desktop computer and monitor running 24/7 uses $40 a year more in electricity than when the devices are off. Adjust control-panel settings for the screen to turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity and for the computer to power down after 30. Be sure to set the screen to turn off, not to display a continuously running slide show or screen saver because these use a lot of energy.

Lighting—Replacing old, inefficient light bulbs with new energy-saving versions can lead to big savings. Choose “warm white” for the same yellow-white color as an old incandescent; “daylight” produces a bluish-white light. Try each before switching out all your bulbs. LED bulbs, now less than $10 at big box stores, are a good investment because they can save $100 or more over their lifetime. Learn more HERE.

Water Heater—Water heating is typically a home’s third-largest energy expense. Lowering the temperature setting from 140 degrees to 120 saves money and still gets the water plenty hot. If you’re going to be away for days, drop the setting even more. Learn more HERE.

Washer and Dryer—With new detergents designed to work in cold water, select that setting for all but the dirtiest loads. If you have an electric water heater, and a slightly older washer, you’ll save up to 50 cents a load, or around $175 a year, because most washer electricity use goes toward heating the water. Choose maximum spin speed on your front-load washer and your clothes won’t come out as wet, requiring less drying time and energy. If you’re only doing one load and not in a hurry, pick dryer settings like Eco mode or energy saver – they typically save energy by using lower temperatures but take a little longer. With a large load of different fabrics, pop open the door about two-thirds through the cycle and pull out dry items: Thinner fabrics won’t get wrinkled, and more warm air circulates around the heavier ones. Also don’t forget to clean the lint off the screen before each load so your dryer can run more efficiently. DIY – Clean Your Dryer Vent

Landscaping – Strategically planted trees can literally overshadow home energy waste. The original layouts and tree positioning of most lots were governed by builders’ profit models, not energy savings, so it’s up to homeowners to position clusters of trees to shade windows and rooftops in summer. These natural insulators can reduce the air temperature surrounding homes by as much as 9 degrees. Deciduous trees, which provide shade in summer, then shed their leaves to admit sunlight in winter, are the best choice in most climates. Evergreens are more effective in providing windbreaks that reduce chilly northerly winds, as long as they are positioned away from the house at a span that’s from two to five times the trees’ heights. What’s more, shading your outdoor air-conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by 10 percent. Learn more HERE and HERE.

Page Last Updated: 6 years ago
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close