Replace (and recycle) major household appliances with energy efficient models. Appliances as few as 10 years old can use twice as much energy as new Energy Star models. New tank-less water heaters can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent.
Limit your water heating
Water heating represents a large portion of most families’ energy budget—in most cases, up to 15 percent. You can adjust the temperature on your water heater down to 120°F or “low” (check dishwasher manuals for water temperature requirements). Also, install energy-saving shower heads and faucets.
Regulate your heating and cooling
In most homes, the single largest energy expense is heating and cooling—almost 50 percent of your utility bill. To keep these costs down, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you produce, always set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting in winter and the highest comfortable setting in summer. Further reduce heating and cooling costs by installing R-30 attic insulation and R-13 wall insulation.
Use compact fluorescent lights
By replacing your most-used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, you can reduce your energy use for illumination by one-third. These lights also last twice as long as incandescent bulbs, creating less waste.
Concentrate on the kitchen
All the large appliances, counter-top electrical devices and the frequent water use makes your kitchen the biggest drain on your energy budget. Keep your appliances up-to-date, including using a refrigerator with automatic moisture control, keeping it defrosted and checking to see that its seals are tight. If you have a gas stove, make sure its flames are burning blue (yellow flame indicates inefficient burning of the fuel), and keep the gas lines clean. If you have an electric stove, keep the burners and reflectors clean, and match the pot/pan size to the size of the burner. Make sure your faucet doesn’t leak, and cover kettles when boiling water.