Skip to content

Consumer Resources

Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings Online

Whether you’re thinking about remodeling your house or just looking for some easy and cheap ways to save energy, you’ve come to the right place. Improving the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment, and improve your comfort. Use the links on this page to find out more.

Home Energy Checklist
How to Choose a Contractor
Appliance Recycling
Beyond Efficiency

Consumer Guide

Buy it now from Home Energy Magazine (bulk pricing available) or from New Society Publishers


Financial Incentives

Federal Incentives

State Incentives scores and ranks cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs according to environmental friendliness. Learn which vehicles are this year's "greenest" and "meanest," as well as how to shop for a green vehicle. Click here to learn more.

Links to Other Resources

  • ENERGY STAR - Energy-efficient appliances
  • CEE - More guidance on home energy-efficiency

Energy Saving Tip

Have very leaky windows? If buying new energy-efficient windows isn’t in your budget, use weatherstripping and consider adding storm windows.

Follow the speed limit! Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10%, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution.

Schedule an energy audit for more expert advice on your home as a whole.

If your walls aren't insulated, have an insulation contractor apply blown-in insulation (cellulose or fiberglass) to the walls.

Crawl into your attic and inspect for insulation. If there is less than R-30 (11” of fiberglass or 8” of cellulose), you could probably benefit by adding more.

Get a tune-up. Whether you do it yourself or go to a mechanic, a tune-up can increase your fuel economy. Follow owner's manual guidelines.

Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.

Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment.

Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters to improve efficiency.

Use overdrive gear at cruising speeds. When driving a manual transmission, shift up as soon as possible. Higher gears decrease fuel use and engine wear.

Refrigerators with side-by-side fridge and freezer doors (even ENERGY STAR models) tend to be much less efficient than models with the freezer on top.

Replace 60-100W incandescent lights that you use several hours each day with CFLs.These lamps can save 75% of the energy used by incandescents.

Baking 1 or 2 potatoes? Use the microwave or toaster oven instead of heating up the whole oven.

Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. These holes may add up to as much as an open window or door!

Help your air conditioner work more efficiently by using CFLs and running the dishwasher and clothes dryer at night.

Set your thermostat back (forward) when you can accept cooler (warmer) conditions, such as night time or whenever you leave your home for several hours.

Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the biggest bill for energy conservation remedies.

Dry multiple loads of laundry consecutively. You’ll take advantage of the residual heat from the previous load.

Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.

Use your car's vents and open windows to cool off before you turn on the AC; AC use increases fuel consumption and NOx emissions in some vehicles.

Take a load off. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent. Take a few moments to unload your cargo area.

Avoid "jack rabbit" starts and aggressive driving. A second of high-powered driving produces about the same carbon monoxide as a half hour of normal driving.

Try to anticipate stops and let your car coast down. Braking and accelerating hard leads to increased pollution, wasted gas, and worn-down brakes.

Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up in the fall and spring, respectively.

Keep your refrigerator/freezer in a cool location (i.e. not next to the stove or in the garage).

In addition to making your car or truck last longer, replacing the oil and oil filter regularly will help fuel economy. Check your owner's manual for specific guidance.

Unplug or use power strips to cut off energy to electronics that are not in use. Anything with a power brick, indicator light, or remote control uses energy even when “off”.

Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.

Combine trips. Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference.

When possible, plan your trips to avoid rush hour. Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants.

Use regular gasoline unless your owner's manual says otherwise. High-octane fuels improve neither fuel economy nor performance.

Keep your tires properly inflated. For every 3 pounds below recommended pressure, fuel economy goes down by about 1 percent.

Buy low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and compact fluorescent light bulbs to save on lighting and water heating energy.

Install occupancy sensors if you (or your kids) are always forgetting to turn off lights.

Buy low-rolling-resistance (LRR) replacement tires. Switching to a typical set of replacement tires lowers a vehicle's fuel economy as much as 4 percent.

Check the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. You may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model before it dies.