When using air-conditioning, avoid setting the temperature too low. For every degree you raise the thermostat, you cut your energy consumption by 3-5%.
Use curtains to regulate inside temperatures. They can block sun in the summer or let sun in during the winter.
During the winter, lower your thermostat 7-10 degrees at night. Then throw on a pair of socks and add an extra comforter to your bed.
Unplug unused electrical items, which can draw energy even when turned off. This includes lights, TVs, DVD players, computer, and small appliances. Use power strips to group less-used items and unplug them all at once.
Pay attention to when you use energy. Using extra energy during peak times--such as running your dishwasher and your drier at once on a hot summer day--puts stress on utilities, and increases the need to build new power plants.
Use your microwave, slow-cooker, and toaster more often. They all either use less energy or require less time to cook foods than the oven and the stove.
Only wash full loads of laundry, and use cold water whenever possible. Most detergents work just as well in cold water as they do in hot.
Use cruise control for highway driving - it will cut your fuel consumption.
Do not carry unnecessary items in your car. An extra 100 lbs. of weight can cut your fuel economy by 1-2%.
ENERGY TIPS: THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR LESS THAN $25
Buy CFL or LED light bulbs. If you place 5 CFLs in your 5 most frequently-used fixtures, you can save $65/year in energy savings from those 5 bulbs.
Seal and weather-strip doors and windows.
Check your furnace and AC filters every month, and clean and replace as needed. Dirty filters increase your bills and shorten the life of the appliance.
Buy low-flow showerheads and aerators for your faucets. Replace leaky faucets. The less hot water you use, the more money and energy you will save.
Keep vehicle tires properly inflated. It can save up to 7 cents per gallon and improve mileage by 3%. Your tires will also last longer.
ENERGY TIPS: THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR LESS THAN $500
Before buying anything, check to see if it comes with the Energy Star label. Energy Star is constantly developing new standards for appliances.
Invest in rechargeable batteries. Some rechargers are even solar-powered.
Get a home energy audit to assess areas for improvement. The auditor should assess your home and your energy bills.
Install a programmable thermostat that will adjust temperature automatically during hours when no one is at home. It can save you 10-20% on heating and cooling costs every year.
If you have single-paned windows, consider installing storm windows. The can reduce heat loss by 20-50%.
Replace your water heating system with a tankless water heater.
Install solar-powered yard lights and night lights with motion sensors. If you get lighting with both, there will be no need for electrical wiring!
Plant a garden. The more fruits and veggies you grow in the yard, the more you save in grocery bills. Less fossil fuels energy will be needed to transport them from farms across the US to your table.
ENERGY TIPS: GOING THE DISTANCE
When buying a car, look for one with good gas mileage and low emissions. You should also consider a hybrid, electric, or flex-fuel vehicle.
Replace old appliances with Energy Star models. Kitchen appliances make up almost 27% of household electricity use.
Look into alternative energy systems for your home. If you are interested in solar power, you can star small, with just a few photovoltaic tiles on your rood. Or look into installing a solar water heater and save 2,500 lbs. of CO2 emissions per year.
Depending on average winds at your site, you may be a good candidate for small wind energy for your home. EERE can help you learn more about wind technology.