Strategy for Reducing Home Energy Use

3 steps to cut your bill and help the planet

There are two major factors with regard to reducing home energy use. The first is that a reduction in energy contributes to shrinking your carbon footprint. That’s good for you and the planet. But often the more motivating reason to cut back is to reduce home energy bills. MSN Money provides a few strategic suggestions that will go a long way toward helping you reduce home energy consumption.

Step 1: Take control of your climate

We all want to be comfortable in our home, but at what cost? Blasting the heat in the winter or the air conditioning in the summer might make us feel good in the moment, but are you being as efficient as you can?

First, consider your thermostat. An electric thermostat can provide you with precise digital readouts of the temperature and help you regulate your home energy usage. Programmable thermostats allow you to easily reduce home energy use by coordinating the times and temperatures for when you’re in the house, sleeping or away for an extended period of time. If your current thermostat offers none of these features, consider upgrading.

Using ceiling fans in lieu of air conditioning is another great way to reduce home energy bills.

Step 2: Manage your lighting

The European Union has already mandated the switch from incandescent light bulbs to the more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, and U.S. federal regulations passed in 2007 plan to ban the sale of traditional incandescent bulbs by 2014. The reason is clear: This next generation of lighting reduces home energy consumption, helping the environment while providing the same amount of light for a longer period of time.

Of course, turning off lights as you leave the room is another easy and often forgotten step you can take. That’s simple to maintain if you live alone, but you might have to remind family members, especially young ones.

Step 3: Choose your appliances wisely

Are your appliances Energy Star-certified by the U.S. Department of Energy? They should be. Most new models of appliances have to pass qualifying tests to ensure that they meet new governmental standards of energy efficiency. You might not notice a big difference with smaller appliances, but big machines like washers, dryers and dishwashers should be upgraded to help you reduce your home energy bills.

Being informed about how you’re using energy can help you create a strategy to reduce your own home energy use. Turn to the Department of Energy’s website for even more cost- and energy-saving measures.

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