Guide to Lowering Energy Use in your Home: Room by Room

ENERGY STEWARDS INITATIVE

Checklist for Energy Savings Room by Room

OVERALL HOME ENERGY SAVING MEASURES

Efficiency

·         Heat/ AC: Install high efficiency ENERGY STAR-rated furnace and air conditioner, at least at level of 94% efficiency. Place furnace where it can provide the greatest distribution of forced air flow throughout the house.

·         Heat/AC: Have duct settings adjusted for maximum spread/flow of heat and cool air throughout the house.

·         Heat/AC: Install ceiling fans to bring heat to floor levels in winter and to circulate cool air in summer.

·         Heat/AC: Seal heat ducts to prevent leaking hot air into basement.

·         Heat/AC: Shut off rooms not in use. Use magnetic mats to cover heat vents in closed off room.

·         Windows: install high efficiency energy star double-or triple-paned windows and storm windows. Close/lock tightly and seal in winter. Seal window sash at top and bottom with self-adhesive foam.

·         Windows: Use honeycomb shades with double or triple cell construction. Put up drapes with thermal liners, measured to cover window frame. 

·         Windows: Use window insulation kits (clear, easily removable caulk or plastic covers) for extra protection from cold.

·         Windows: On south side, open curtains and lower shades for sun to heat in winter. Shift from east to west from morning to night. Open windows for outside air to cool in summer.

·         Insulation: Request of energy company or hire energy expert to do complete evaluation (incentives from government and energy company on the changes you make will pay for the expert advice). EE will do blower test to identify leaks, use “X-ray” to find places in walls that are not insulated, and find nooks and crannies throughout the house where air is escaping or entering.

·         Insulation: The biggest benefit comes from installing heavy insulation in attic, including under attic floors.

·         Insulation: Insulate electrical outlets on outside walls. Install small pads that go inside outlet covers.

·         Insulation: Insulate and weather strip outside doors, including a door to the garage. Paint and seal wood doors to the outside, or put on insulation.

·         Insulation: Put door sweeps (or snakes) at bottom of outside doors or doors to rooms that have been shut off from heat. Make sure doors close tightly.

·         Lights: install CFLs or LEDs in every outlet and lamp. Where needed retrofit for the most efficient fluorescent tubes.

·         Lights: Install motion sensors for rooms where lights are used often and prone to be left on.

·         Water: Put aerators on all sink faucets throughout the house. Install low-flow shower heads.

·         Water: Check regularly for leaks in all faucets (inside and out), toilets, and pipes throughout the house. Repair leaks immediately.

Conservation:

·         Heat/ AC: Have furnace/ air conditioner tuned and serviced once a year. 

·         Furnace: Change furnace filters each month or every three months, depending on the longevity of the filter.

·         Heat/AC: make sure forced-air vents are unobstructed. Make sure air return vents are unobstructed.

·         Heat/AC: Have air ducts cleaned every ten years.

·         Heat: Seal heat ducts to prevent leaking hot air.

·         Heat/AC: Clear and clean cold air returns and registers.

·         Thermostat: Set 24/7 thermostat. Lower heat at night and when absent. Wear warm clothes rather than high heat.  Turn heat down in winter for the night. Set automatic thermostat in house for 60 to begin one-half hour before bed and to end one-half hour before rising.

·         Heat: Turn down heat when away from the house.

·         Lights: Turn off lights in rooms not in use. Use minimal light when in use.

·         Lights: Position lamps/ furniture for optimum lighting.

·         Lights: Open thermal curtains and shades for sun to provide natural heat in winter. Use outside air to cool in summer. Block windows from sun to preserve inside cool in summer.

·         Windows: On south side, open curtains and lower shades for sun to heat in winter. Shift from east to west from morning to night. Open windows for outside air to cool in summer.

·         Lights: Depend on outside natural light. Turn off lights/ overhead fan when not in use. Turn off oven fan and light when not in use.

·         Heat: Turn down heat when away from the house.

·         Insulation: Fill openings into the basement from water spigots, gas lines, electric service outlets, cable TV, and data lines.

·         Heat: Seal heat ducts to prevent leaking hot air.

·         Heat/AC: Clear and clean cold air returns and registers.

·          Lights: When away from house for days, put lamp on timer to come on at night.

 

KITCHEN

Efficiency

·         Appliances: (Energy Star): Replace appliances after ten years or sooner. Purchase top to bottom refrigerator. Side by side refrigerator-freezer uses 7-13% more energy than when freezer is at top or bottom.  Do not position refrigerator near heat. Leave two inches on either side of refrigerator.

·         Refrigerator/ Freezer: Set at medium for refrigerator (37-40 degrees F) and freezer (0 to 5 degrees F). A freezer that is filled with food is more efficient.

·         Dish washing: Get ENERGY STAR high efficiency. Use dishwasher rather than hand washing. Run on energy saving/shorter cycle. Turn off “heat drying.” Clean filter; open door to air dry.

·         Compost food: Avoid use of disposal. If you use disposal, run cold water. Compost food scraps.

·         Water: Install aerator on faucets. Fix leaks immediately.

·         Water: Use effective sink stoppers.

·         Cooking: Use microwave or toaster oven for less energy. Use pressure cookers and crock pots.

·         Stove: use lids to heat. Clean burner bowls to retain heat. Use burners smaller than the pan. Have oven on only when pre-heating or in use. Make sure gaskets on oven door seal properly. Don’t open oven when cooking.

·         Small appliances: Avoid unnecessary electric appliances such as electric peelers, can openers, or carving knives. Unplug unused refrigerators and freezers.

·         Clock. Avoid electric clock. Use clock with recycled batteries. Use solar clock.

·         Pantry: Turn off light in pantry or put on motion sensor.

 

Conservation:

·         Refrigerator: Make sure the rubber gaskets on the doors seal fully (clean or replace).

·         Refrigerator: Clean coils, under refrigerator, behind front panel, evaporator pan, and motor every six months. Use “feet” to make refrigerator level front to back and side to side.

·         Refrigerator: Do not leave refrigerator or freezer door open when doing tasks.

·         Water: Do not let the water run unnecessarily. Use cold water for most tasks. Post reminders.

·         Cooking: Use microwave rather than oven. Use smaller appliances. Save energy with slow cookers (crock pot).

·         Cooking: Lower the heat after boiling. Use lids. Do not check food in oven. Seal oven door.

·         Lights: Depend on outside natural light. Turn off lights/ overhead fan when not in use. Turn off oven fan and light when not in use.

·         Dish washing: Scrape but do not rinse dishes before putting them in the dish washer. If you scrape, use cold water. Do dishwasher only when it is full. Run on energy saving cycle. Turn off heated drying.

·         Cooking: Use microwave or toaster oven for less energy. Use pressure cookers and crock pots.

·         Stove: use lids to heat. Clean burner bowls to retain heat. Use burners smaller than the pan. Have oven on only when pre-heating or in use. Make sure gaskets on oven door seal properly. Don’t peak in oven.

·         Compost: Avoid disposals by composting all food. If you use the disposal, use cold water.

·         Appliances: Unplug unused refrigerators and freezers.

·         Electricity: Turn off at the source toasters, coffee pots, and microwaves when not in use.

·         Avoid paper: Re-use cloth napkins by designating a napkin for each person with napkin holder. Use cloth towels rather than paper towels.

·         Re-use: Re-use personal drinking glasses during the day.

·         Re-use: Avoid disposable paper or plastic plates, cups, utensils, containers.

·         Electricity: Use smart plug to turn off microwave when not in use (phantom electricity)

·         Electricity: Use smart strip to turn off radios and TVs when not in use.

Efficiency

·         Heat/air: make sure forced-air vents are unobstructed.

·         Heat/air: install high efficiency windows and storm windows. Close tightly and seal in winter. Install insulating shades. Put up thermal curtains.

·         Heat/air: Install ceiling fan for heat in winter and cooling in summer.

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs in overhead, lamps, closet. Install motion sensors for overhead lights and closet.

·         Lights: When away from house for days, put lamp on timer to come on at night only.

·         Electricity: Use smart strip to turn off TV and DVD automatically at the source when not in use (phantom electricity).

Conservation

·         Lights: Open thermal curtains and shades for sun to heat in winter. Use outside air to cool in summer.

·         Lights: Place furniture to optimize natural lighting. Position lamps for maximum effect.

·         Lights: turn off when not in use. Use only the lights/lamps needed. Use small LED night lights.

·         Heat: Turn heat down in winter for the night. Set automatic thermostat in house for 60 to begin one-half hour before bed and to end one-half hour before rising, health permitting. Add clothing and bedding for warmth.

·         Heat: Turn down heat when away from the house.

·         Electricity: Turn off TV and radio when not in use. Use smart strip.

·         Clock: Use renewable battery-driven wall or table clock.

BEDROOM

Efficiency

·         Heat/air: make sure forced-air vents are unobstructed. Check need for insulation in walls and ceiling.

·         Heat/air: install high efficiency windows and storm windows. Close tightly and seal in winter. Install insulating shades. Put up thermal curtains.

·         Lights: Install motion sensors overhead lights. Use CFLs or LEDs in overhead and lamps.

·         Lights: Use natural light during the day. Use small LED night light for nighttime.

·         Electricity: Turn off TV and radio when not in use. Use smart strip to turn off TV, DVD, and radio automatically at the source when not in use (phantom electricity).

Conservation

·         Lights: Open thermal curtains and shades for sun to heat in winter. Use outside air to cool in summer.

·         Lights: turn off when not in use. Use only the lights/lamp needed. Use LED night lights.

·         Heat: Turn heat down in winter for the night. Set automatic thermostat in house for 60 to begin one-half hour before bed and to end one-half hour before rising. Use clothing and extra bedding for warmth.

·         Energy: Turn off TVs and radios when not in use.

·         Energy: Use alarm clock powered by renewable battery.

BATHROOM

Efficiency:

·         Heat/air: Make sure heat vents are unobstructed.

·         Heat/air: Attend to windows (see above)

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs. Install motion sensors on lights. If you have multiple lights over sink, use only what is needed.

·         Lights: Use natural light during the day. Use small LED night light for nighttime. 

·         Water: Use aerators on sink faucets. Use low-flow shower heads. Repair leaks immediately.

·         Water: Use low water toilets. Or deposit tank balloon or brick to displace water. Flush less often. Repair running toilets immediately. Advanced: self-composting toilet.

·         Paper: Use post-consumer waste toilet paper.

Conservation:

·         Water: Do not run water while brushing teeth, shaving, scrubbing hands, combing hair, etc. Post reminders. Use cold water for washing hands, shaving, etc.

·         Water: Take a shower rather than a bath. Take fewer showers. Get a “shower coach” (small plastic hour-glass to be put in shower area with suction cup) and limit your showers to five minutes.

·         Water: flush less often.

·         Water: Fill bucket with cold water when getting a hot shower and use it for watering plants.

·         Lights: Turn off lights when not in use, even motion sensor lights. Post reminders.

·         Electricity: Turn off curling irons, electric tooth brushes, and other electric devices when not in use.

·         Laundry: Designate personal towels and wash cloths for re-use to limit need for unnecessary laundry. Avoid plush towels so as to provide more space in washing machine.

 

 

LAUNDRY ROOM

Efficiency

·         Appliances: Purchase high efficiency energy star washers and dryers. Front load washers use half the energy and water as top loading washers.

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs. Turn off when not in use—between loads. Install motion sensors lights.

·         Heat/air: make sure air vents are unobstructed.

·         Heat/air: install high efficiency windows and storm windows. Close tightly and seal in winter. Put up thermal curtains. Open for sun to heat in winter. Use outside air to cool in summer.

Conservation

·         Washer and Dryer: Run washer and dryer only on full loads.

·         Washer and Dryer: Adjust water level and cycle length to maximize savings. Wash clothes in warm or cold. Rinse in cold.

·         Washer and Dryer Pre-soak only the dirtiest clothes.

·         Washer and Dryer Dry clothes on lines in basement or outside.

·         Washer and Dryer Do not over-dry clothes. Clean the dryer lint filter after each load.

·         Washer and Dryer Clean dryer exhaust duct and outside vents.

·         Washer and Dryer Grab and fold/hang from dryer to avoid the need for ironing.

·         Washer and Dryer Run appliances at night.

OFFICE

 

ATTIC

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs. Turn off when not in use. Install motion sensor lights.

·         Insulation: Put extensive insulation between floor joists and under floor. Seal floor spaces. R-50 at least.

·         Insulation: Locate hidden spaces around attic edges and insulate well. Insulate stairway to attic.

·         Insulation: If heating ducts or return air ducts go through attic, cover them with insulation.

·         Insulation: Put insulation on inside of attic door and put seals around the door.

·         Air flow: Provide adequate airflow to avoid heat settling on floor of attic in summer.

·         Air flow: Install solar fan on roof for air movement in attic.

 

BASEMENT

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs. Install motion sensors for some rooms. Turn off when not in use.

·         Heat/AC: Get high efficiency Energy Star furnace/ air conditioner. Have furnace serviced each year. Change filters regularly.

·         Heat: Seal heat ducts to prevent leaking hot air into basement area.

·         Insulation: Weather strip, insulate, and cover small basement windows often overlooked. Install glass block windows.

·         Insulation: Insulate portion of outside walls above the foundation.

·         Insulation: Insulate on ceiling above crawl spaces.

·         Insulation: Insulate basement ceiling if cold, especially along cracks and separations.

·         Insulation Insulate along the rim joists where the foundation meets the walls. R-19.

·         Insulation Insulate hot water pipes.

·         Insulation Fill openings into the basement around water spigots, gas lines, electric service outlets, cable TV, and internet lines.

·         Insulation Seal basement for winter and use air vents in glass-block windows for summer to avoid high humidity.

·         Water: Put aerators on sink faucets. Repair leaks immediately.

·         Water: Use low water toilets. If not a low water-use toilet, deposit tank balloon or brick to displace water. Repair running toilets immediately. Advanced: self-composting toilet.

·         Water heater: Set temperature at 120. Drain overflow occasionally. Put a blanket on water heater (3 inches).

·         Water heater: Advanced: Install on-demand water heater. Or install solar panel panels for energy to heat water.

·         Humidity appliances: Dehumidifier/ humidifier: If use dehumidifier is used in summer, set level and timer to save money. Purchase ENERGY STAR appliance. Same for humidifiers in winter.

·         Appliances: Avoid second refrigerator or freezer in basement.

 

OUTSIDE

Efficiency

·         Lights: Use CFLs or LEDs for porch lighting and area flood lights.

·         Lights: Put outside safety lights on motion sensor.

·         Lights: If needed regularly, put porch or area lights on timer.

·         Lights: Use solar garden lights.

·         Lights: Put in motion sensor garage lights.

·         Trees: Plant trees, shrubs, vines on trellises to provide protection from wind in winter and sun in summer. Evergreen trees on north and northwest sides of house.

·         Awnings: Put up awnings to cool the house in summer.

·         Insulation: Caulk around the outside dryer and furnace vents.

·         Mowing: Use hand mower or battery or electric mower. Or rotary mower. Keep clean (from grass caking) and serviced.

·         Leaves: Hand rake or sweep rather than leaf/ grass blower. Avoid electric trimmer and grass liner.

·         Snow: Shovel snow, when feasible, rather than snow blower.

·         Shade: Provide shade for air conditioning unit but with plenty of clear space around unit.

Conservation

·         Lights: Use only the lighting needed for use or safety.

·         Lights: Change setting of timed lighting by the season.

·         Lights: Clean outdoor light fixtures.

·         Lights: Put night window lamps on timers.

·         Garage: Limit use of automatic garage opener.

TRANSPORTATION

·         Car/ truck: Purchase electric or hybrid car or one with high fuel efficiency.

·         Alternate transportation: Walk. Ride a bicycle. Take a bus. Car pool. Avoid heavy traffic.

·         Car tip: Keep engine tuned, change regularly oil, replace air filter, have car serviced on schedule.

·         Car tip: Keep tires inflated at recommended levels.

·         Car tip: Avoid jack rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly.

·         Car tip: On highway, approximate 55 miles per hour where safe to do so.

·         Car tip: Avoid engine idling. Coast in gear. Anticipate so you do not need to come to full stop at traffic lights.

·         Car tip: Open windows to limit use of air conditioning. At 60 mph, use air conditioning, because open windows create drag.

·         Car tip: Avoid unnecessary heavy items in the trunk or car.

·         Car tip: Switch to eco-focused tires, which reduce rolling resistance.

 

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