Blackle Energy Saving Tips

If you look at your daily routine you will find many small things that you can do to save energy. Below are some energy saving tips. If you have any tips that are not listed please let us know.


Getting started - free and low cost ways to save energy

Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers, etc.

Check your furnace or air conditioner filter each month. Dirty filters block air flow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing energy use.

During hot months, keep window coverings closed on the south, east, and west windows if you are in Northern Hemisphere (north, east, and west windows if you are in the Southern Hemisphere). In winter, let the sun in.

Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use.

Dress appropriately for the weather, and set your thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable setting. On winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and turn down your thermostat.

In summer, use fans whenever possible instead of air conditioning . Using fans to supplement air conditioning allows you to raise the thermostat temperature, using less energy. Fans use less energy than air conditioning.

About 15% of an average home energy bill goes to heating water. To save hot water, take five-minute showers instead of baths. Do only full loads when using the clothes washer or dishwasher. Lower the temperature on your water heater so that you are not having to add cold water to shower.

Switch to cold water washing of laundry. Use detergent formulated for cold water to get clothes just as clean.

Only heat or cool the rooms you need. Close vents and doors of unused rooms.

Install low flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.

Seal and weatherstrip your windows and doors to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat or air conditioning that escapes through leaks to the outdoors.

Insulation your hot water tank to keep the heat from escaping.

Look for energy efficiency labels when buying new products such as TVs, furnaces, cell phones, refrigerators and air conditioners.

Replace your five most used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These light bulbs use two-thirds less energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Recycle minor things e.g. reuse empty soda bottles.

Take your own reusable bags to do grocery shopping to save the unnecessary production of plastic bags.

Only use air conditioning to achieve neutral temperatures (24-25 degrees). Lower temperatures use significantly more energy.


Energy saving tips for your car

Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline, it can lower your highway gas mileage 33% and city mileage 5%.

Consider buying a highly fuel-efficient vehicle. A fuel-efficient vehicle, a hybrid vehicle, or an alternative fuel vehicle could save you a lot at the gas pump and help the environment.

Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Get regular engine tune-ups. Replacing clogged air filters can improve gas mileage by as much as 10% and protect your engine.

Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to improve your gasoline mileage by around 3%.

Use the grade of motor oil recommended by your car's manufacturer. Using a different motor oil can lower your gasoline mileage by 2%.

Consider telecommuting, carpooling and public transit to cut mileage and car maintenance costs.

Reduce drag by placing items inside the car or trunk rather than on roof racks. A loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.

Clear out your car; extra weight decreases gas mileage.

Use air conditioning only when necessary, consider opening a window instead.


Make your house energy efficient with insulation

Save up to 20% of the energy you use to heat and cool your house. Seal up holes to the outside by weatherstripping doors and sealing windows.

Adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces provides tremendous energy savings.

Efficient windows can lower the energy used for heating and cooling by up to 30%. If your home has only single pane windows, consider replacing them with energy efficient windows.

For people who live in mobile homes siding skirts insulate against winds in the winter and heat in the summer. The air conditioning ducts are often under the home so the skirts will also help to insulate the ducts.


Energy efficient home appliances and electronics

Appliances account for about 20% of household energy use. Appliances and electronics really add up on your energy bill. When shopping for new appliances and electronics look for energy efficiency labels.

Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.

Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load.

Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks.

Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.

Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.

Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.

Make sure power management is activated on your computer.

In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Plug home electronics into power strips and turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use.

Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.

Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use. Many chargers draw power continuously, even when the device is not plugged into the charger.

Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.

Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.

When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry.


Energy efficient lighting

Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.

Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and counter-tops under cabinets.

Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn on or off lighting as needed and prevent energy waste.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in place of comparable incandescent bulbs to save about 50% on your lighting costs. CFLs use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Turn your lights off when you leave a room. Standard, incandescent light bulbs should be turned off whenever they are not needed. Fluorescent lights should be turned off whenever you'll be away for 15 minutes or more.

During winter, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and close them at night to help keep the heat in.

Sources: The Blackle community, Alliance to Save Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

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