"Keeping things simple" and "getting back to basics" are two ideals I naturally gravitate to. And while I'm not usually someone who makes New Year's resolutions, I am a big fan of top 10 lists. While pretty straightforward, these easy tips are great way to save money and energy throughout the New Year. So here goes, my personal top 10 ways to save money and energy in 2011.
- Research alternatives for saving money on fuel, decreasing my carbon footprint, and increasing my vehicle's fuel efficiency.
- Confirm I have my programmable thermostat set to the optimal settings. Turning back the thermostat by 10°–15° when I'm not at home can save me around 10% a year on my heating and cooling bills.
- Check for air leaks and apply caulking and weatherstripping. While the improvements I made in the last 12 months have likely already paid for themselves, I'll double check I didn't miss any leaks and see if any caulk or weatherstripping needs to be replaced.
- See if my attic is properly insulated. Attics are often one of the easiest places in a house to insulate.
- Seal and insulate the foundation walls of my unventilated crawl space and check for moisture and deterioration problems.
- Landscape with water conservation in mind and triple check the sprinkler system schedule to minimize evapotranspiration.
- Keep my hot water heater at 120°F and install a hot water heater insulating blanket. These two tips can save up to 15% in energy costs.
- Ensure any appliances I purchase are ENERGY STAR rated, which use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment.
- Kill phantom energy loads (aka "vampire power") by unplugging appliances when I'm not using them.
- Continue evangelizing how easy it is to save money and energy at home!
For more money and energy saving tips, visit EnergySavers.gov.
Chris Stewart is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.