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Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

Click on any room or section of the house FOR home energy savings tips.

Floor Plan for Home Utility Savings

Attic, Garage and Insulation

Your attic, garage and basement are the main areas where insulation can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Look below for helpful tips to reduce the electricity bill by properly insulating these areas.

Office and Electronics

In this digital age, electronics are found in every room of the house and many of them have energy-efficient settings. Check out our list below for more information.

Bedroom

Even while you sleep, your home can still use energy. Below we have outlined some tips on saving electricity and staying comfortable without breaking the bank.

Bathroom

This may not be a hot spot for energy efficiency, but there are ways to conserve energy without sacrificing comfort. Check those out below.

Living Room

From lighting to windows to your thermostat, the living room is a great place to make the most out of home energy savings. Read on to see how to reduce electricity bills in your main living space.

Miscellaneous

There are many more ways you can save energy that don’t necessarily fit into one particular room. We have you covered with more tips below.

Kitchen

Even with energy-efficient appliances, you can still learn how to save money on electric bills with the helpful tips you’ll find below.

HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

The majority of your energy usage comes from your HVAC system. Below we have outlined numerous tips to help you stay comfortable and maintain your system while lowering your utility bills.

A PLAN TO CONSERVE ENERGY AND LOWER UTILITY BILLS CAN START ANYWHERE, ANYTIME

As your trusted energy partner, OPPD wants to empower you to take control of your energy use. This interactive floor plan lets you to choose where you would like to start your journey toward a more energy-efficient way of living – and a lower electricity bill.

  1. Attic, Garage and Insulation

    Wondering how to save money on electricity bills? It starts with insulation throughout your home – especially in the attic. Insulation is measured by R-value: The higher the value, the better the insulation is at preventing the flow of heat from space to space. Follow these tips for conserving energy.

    • Blown-in, loose-fill insulation is best for attics. The insulation should pile up high enough to cover the tops of the ceiling joists (on the “floor” of the attic) plus a few inches.
    • Insulate any cold or hot water lines that are in unconditioned spaces.
    • Be sure to insulate rim joists using batt or rigid foam board insulation.
    • Insulate the attic hatch by using batt insulation and by adding weatherstripping where the hatch meets the frame.
    • If your garage has an unfinished ceiling to a living space above, seal all possible sources of air leakage before insulating and finishing. This helps minimize the danger of potential garage contaminants entering the living space.
    • Install weatherstripping on windows and exterior doors, including the door to an attached garage.
    • Consider installing plastic window covering on drafty windows.
    • Apply caulk or spray foam to band joists, rim joists (the area which goes around the top perimeter of your basement) and other structural component gaps.
    • Install outlet and switch plate foam gasket seals on exterior outlet and switch panels.
  2. Bathroom

    Don't let utility bill costs go down the drain! Keep these energy savings tips in mind when in the bathroom.

    • Setting your Water Heater’s temperature from 140 to 120 degrees can lower your water heating cost by 5-10%.
    • When switching multiple bulbs to LEDs in the bathroom, it may be helpful to install lower-wattage LED bulbs (3w) due to their overall brightness.
    • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. This can save as much as 5 gallons of water each time.
    • High-efficiency, low-flow showerheads and faucets save on hot water usage and often have no resulting loss of comfort.
    • Newer, more efficient showerheads can reduce the water use from approximately 5 gallons per minute to 2.5 gallons per minute.
    • Only use the bathroom exhaust fan when necessary. Aside from energy usage, it can also pull conditioned air out of the home.
    • Exhaust fans should vent out of the home. In some cases, they may just vent into an unfinished attic space.
  3. Bedroom

    Your home consumes energy around the clock. Learn how to save on the electric bill even when you're sleeping.

    • Fans cool people, not rooms. Consider raising the temperature of the thermostat in the summer and using a fan to help cool you off as you sleep.
    • Lower the thermostat in the winter with the help of ceiling fans on low and spinning clockwise to help distribute warm air more evenly in a room.
    • Blackout curtains can not only help you sleep better, they can also help block the heat from the sun in the summer, keeping your bedroom cooler.
    • Close any doors that attach to the bedroom such as a closet or bathroom. This reduces the size of the space needed for heating or cooling.
    • In summer, stay cooler with breathable linens; then, in the winter, switch to a heavier style of linens and comforter. Any opportunity to cool off or warm up before touching the thermostat is a movement towards saving energy.
    • Electronic devices such as computers, monitors and even televisions can add heat to your bedroom causing a potentially uncomfortable temperature. Consider removing any electronic devices from your bedroom to help maintain the temperature.
  4. Office and Electronics

    As we accumulate devices, we increase our energy usage. Learn how to save on electricity bills in this part of the home that's filled with cords and power strips.

    • Turn off your PC monitor when it's not in use for more than 20 minutes. Turn off both the PC and the monitor if they won't be used for more than two hours.
    • Use a surge strip to protect your electronic devices (PC, monitor, speakers, printer, etc.). This allows you to save on energy by turning them all off at once when not in use for more than two hours.
    • If you don’t want to turn off your PC/monitor, use the Power Management features. This can contribute to savings on your electricity bills without having to turn them off.
    • Phantom power can lead to unnecessary electricity use. However, items that only power a clock when not in use do not use a lot of power. If it is convenient, you can unplug them but this may only add up to a few dollars a month in utility savings.
    • Instead of leaving a gaming system, TV or electronic device on idle, switch it to the power-saving mode, which consumes considerably less energy.
    • Smart Plugs and Smart Lights (LED) are not only a great way to save on energy, they offer the ability to schedule when your lights turn on or off and in some cases, the color and brightness of the bulb.
    • An office full of electronics will be warmer than the average room. Take this into consideration before changing the thermostat. These electronics can raise the temperature of the room by as much as 5-7 degrees.
  5. Living Room

    Live comfortably while you save money! Find out how to lower electricity bills in this busy area of the home.

    • LED bulbs used 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and 20-30% less than CFLs.
    • LED bulbs come in a variety of sizes, brightness levels (lumens), colors (bright white, soft white, etc.) and applications (flood, dimmable, etc.).
    • Be sure to recycle any old CFL bulbs as they contain mercury inside them.
    • Turn off lights in rooms that are not occupied; consider using natural sunlight to light a room versus electrical lighting, if it does not interfere with the HVAC system.
    • Windows are an expensive upgrade with a long payback period. Consider any other improvements that can be made to the window (weather stripping, plastic sheeting) before replacing them in full.
    • Consider gas-filled windows with low-e-coating, as well as double-paned windows.
    • If you decide to replace your windows, look for those with a Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient [SHGC] of 0.40 or lower.
    • Installing a programmable thermostat can help in saving energy through scheduled temperature changes for your HVAC system. This can save as much as 10% per year on your utility bills.
  6. Kitchen

    So many appliances, so much electricity! Here are ways to save energy and money in your kitchen.

    • Use heat-generating appliances (dishwasher, clothes dryer, oven, etc.) during the cooler part of the day/evening.
    • Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing TVs, refrigerators, washers, dryers and small appliances.
    • Consider two price tags when shopping for appliances: one being the price of the appliance and the other being its lifetime operation cost. Use the EnergyGuide label on the appliance to determine if both costs are beneficial for you.
    • Keep appliances clean for added longevity and efficiency. This includes ovens, stovetops (reflector can/bowls for electric stoves) and refrigerator coils.
    • Use of low-flow faucets can help save up to 60% on water consumption.
    • Keep your refrigerator between 30-40 degrees and your freezer between 0-5 degrees. Having a thermometer inside shows the precise setting of your refrigerator.
    • Keep the seal (gaskets) on the doors of your refrigerator and freezer clean. Any leaks from a dirty gasket can cause your refrigerator or freezer to cool longer than necessary.
    • Air dry your dishes by opening the dishwasher door whenever possible, as the dishwasher dry cycle uses a lot of energy.
    • Use rinse aids. They not only remove spots, they speed up the drying process.
    • Washing dishes by hand uses more water and more energy to heat that water. Most newer dishwashers have heaters inside that aid in warming up the water.
    • Avoid rinsing dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. Scrape off any bigger pieces of food, then simply put it in the dishwasher.
    • If you have to wash dishes by hand, it is recommended to use gloves as the water will need to be hot enough to adequately sanitize (roughly 140-145 degrees).
  7. HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

    This is the area where tips on saving electricity really matter because most of your home energy consumption happens through your HVAC system.

    • Inform your heating and cooling contractor when you do any energy-efficient upgrades. If you're in the market for a new HVAC system, insist the contractor performs HVAC Manual Residential Load Calculations to ensure the components you get are the proper size for your home.
    • Seal your ductwork using aluminum duct tape or duct mastic paste on all joints. This will help prevent air leakage and assist in better airflow from your HVAC system.
    • Have a licensed professional inspect your HVAC system twice a year – before summer and before winter.
    • Check or replace your furnace filter at least once a month. While the airflow may seem adequate, a dirty filter can cause components of the furnace or A-coil (inside the furnace) to become dirty or malfunction.
    • Changing your thermostat by even a degree can amount to an increase or decrease in energy usage by 1%-5%.
    • Balance the airflow in your home by using dampers installed in the ductwork. A position for summer and winter should be marked. If you do not have dampers, opening or closing vents can also help balance your airflow.
    • Consider the position of the thermostat. If it is near sources of heat (i.e., bathroom, kitchen, window, etc.), try to limit the movement of air against the thermostat so as not to affect the natural air temperature of your home.
    • The most expensive filter is not necessarily the best filter for your system. Filters can be too efficient in that they will slow the flow of air which can damage your HVAC system.
    • Keep your supply and return registers clean of dust, dirt, pet hair, etc. It is best to check them each time you replace your filter.
  8. Miscellaneous

    There are many ways to conserve energy throughout your home, including these final tips.

    • Use the Energy Usage Calculator or check out a Watt Detector from your public library to better understand the energy use in your home.
    • Use blinds/curtains to your advantage – open in the fall and winter; close in the summer.
    • Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible.
    • Install a door sweep on any exterior doors to help prevent any airflow from entering or leaving the home.
    • Plant deciduous trees to help shade the home in the summer. Tall trees with open trunks also help warm the home from a low winter sun.
    • Trees can also slow the flow of wind which diminishes the wind chill effect on the home in the winter.
    • A plant-covered trellis can help cool your home by creating a shaded barrier between the sun and your home or outside space.
    • Be sure your dryer vent is hooked up properly to the outside. It should never vent into a home. This can cause a considerable increase in humidity.
    • Check for any plumbing leaks. Excess water can add moisture to the home. In the right conditions, this can lead to mold.

Energy Usage FAQs