1. Green your ride.
If you’re in the market for a car, remember to compare mpg and fuel costs–even vehicles in the same class can vary by $1000s in annual fuel costs. There are some great deals on electric vehicles right now, and you may be one of many Americans who are already EV ready. And be creative about combining trips, biking, or walking and try out transit, bikeshare or carshare options when they’re available–you’ll be more active, save on fuel and see your neighborhood in a new light.
2. Modernize your home habits.
Try washing clothes on the cold setting and skipping the pre-rinse on your dishes–you might be pleasantly surprised at the time and energy newer appliances can save you. Many new washing machines don’t need hot water to get your clothes clean (with a few exceptions for the dirtiest loads). Since heating the water is 90% of the energy needed by your washer, this can translate into big savings. And most new dishwashers will do the cleaning for you–no need to prewash dishes, which often wastes a lot more water than the dishwasher uses!
3. Improve circulation in your home and plug the leaks.
If part of your home is frigid while another part is still too warm, get a home energy audit that will identify ways to improve the circulation in your home. Plugging leaks in windows and doors and sealing the attic can also make a huge difference in home comfort and energy bills.
4. Switch to LED bulbs.
They last for decades, use very little energy, and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and types. If you’re worried about picking the right color light, make sure you check the light facts label for guidance.
5. Program the savings.
A programmable thermostat can save hundreds of dollars a year. Aim to set the temperature at 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer when you’re in the house and even further during times that you’ll be out of your home.
For even more tips, facts and ways to increase energy efficiency, check out Consumer Reports’ Efficiency Guide.