As a lifelong California girl spoiled with beautiful (or at least temperate) weather year-round, the Northeast’s recent heat wave and last year’s Snowmageddon made me realize just how important it is to keep an eye on saving energy, money and, most importantly, the Earth.  Though the intense heat of summer months and frigid cold of winter months hike up our electricity and energy bills, it’s important to remember that we can (and should!) save energy year-round.

Take a moment to evaluate how energy is used in your household then compare it to the energy saving tips below.  Do you employ one or a few of these tips?  Can you make the changes to implement a few more?  As it often is in life, it’s the simple and little things that make the biggest difference.

–       Replace light bulbs. Replacing standard bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) save 75% off lighting costs and CFLs last much longer.

–       Unplug electronics. Not using your cell phone charger?  Unplug it.  Or turn off the power surge strip behind the entertainment center or desk when you’re not home.  All these items together can use as much power as your refrigerator.

–       Adjust your thermostat. Put your thermostat on energy saver mode.  Also, adjusting an air conditioner or heater 5 degrees can save up to 20% on cooling or warming costs.

–       Buy/use energy efficient appliances. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances are up to 40% more efficient.  Check to see if your local hardware and appliance stores have rebates and incentives.

–       Don’t run your air conditioner or heater all day. Make use of ceiling fans (most use less energy than a light bulb!), close windows and doors, pile on the layers of clothes and blankets, and close the shades during the day.  And most importantly, turn it off if you’re not home!

–       Turn off the lights. As simple as this sounds, many people forget to turn the lights off when they leave the house.  Or if you have a dimming option, leave the lights on dim if you must keep them on.

–       Wash clothes in cold water. Washing your laundry in cold water makes a huge difference – about 90% of the energy used to in a washer goes to water heating.

–       Load the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher when it’s fully loaded – fewer loads means less energy and water use.

Making these small changes in your household energy use saves a lot more than just energy as it can make a significant difference in your energy bill and helps save our environment.  Your wallet and Mother Earth will thank you.