Some of these measures can be taken by anyone. Some are only workable for people who own their own home. Some of the measures can only be implemented if you do not live in a neighborhood with a governing association that tells you whether you can have solar panels, windmills and so on, and whether you can plant this tree or that shrub or not in your yard. In any case, everyone who gets electricity from a power grid should be able to implement some of these measures, depending on each person or household's situation.
Lowering cooling costs:
1. Keep the thermostat at 78F degrees.
2. Use clothes dryers during cooler parts of the day. If possible, avoid using a dryer by using a clothesline.
3. Install ceiling fans or use other fans to move air around, producing a breeze.
4. Make sure that the building is well insulated.
5. Plant shade trees or shrubs to shade the house.
6. Clean and repair air ducts.
7. Replace the air filter every three months.
8. Use window shades to keep the sun out of windows that trap heat in the house.
9. Install solar panels, or use geothermal heating and cooling systems, or get a windmill and attach it to your house. If you choose to remain on the power grid, it may be possible to sell the energy you produce to the power company.
10. Use less heat to cook food by eating cold food, using a small appliance such as a toaster oven or a crock pot, or cooking one-pot meals on the stove instead of in the oven.
11. Reduce the amount of baking. If it is necessary to use the oven to bake, bake more than one thing at a time and do so during the cooler part of the day.
Reducing the amount of energy used to heat water:
Water heating costs account for an average of 40% of most US citizens' power bills. To reduce the amount of hot water your household uses, here are some tips:
1. Wash dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher. If you must use a dishwasher, it will be more efficient if it is completely full of dishes before you turn it on.
2. Take cold showers on hot days. If it is cold out and you want to take a hot shower, take a shorter showers. If you like to take long showers, get a shower head that reduces the amount of water flow.
3. Wash clothes in cold water unless they need to be sanitized.
Reducing the amount of energy used by appliances and lights:
1. Use compact florescent light bulbs. These last longer and use less energy.
2. Use energy-efficient appliances. These often have an energy saver rating.
3. Purchase an insulating sleeve for your water heater to reduce the amount of energy your water heater uses.
4. Turn lights off in rooms that are not being used. During the daytime, if it is not a hot day and a window is available, use light from the window.
5. Unplug appliances and machines that are not in use. Anything that is plugged into a wall socket drains energy even if the machine or appliance is off.
Lowering Heating Costs:
1. Set temperature at the lowest comfortable temperature, usually around 68F degrees .
2. Use more blankets and dress in layers.
3. Check for insulation needs, drafts, heating system efficiency. Correct anything that needs to be changed. Change air filter every three months.
4. Avoid space heaters and kerosene heaters if possible. These are inefficient and sometimes cause fires if used improperly. They are useful if your heating system fails.
5. If you heat your home by burning wood, wood stoves are more efficient than fireplaces and can be used for cooking.