The small choices we make at home affect the air we all breathe, and by conserving energy YOU can help clean the air. In fact, if every home in Utah shaved their energy usage by just 10%, we could save nearly 425 million pounds of CO2 each year. That’s equivalent to taking 41,650 cars off the road every year! Most homes and businesses can easily cut energy costs by 20%, if not more, by reducing inefficient energy use. Cutting energy waste in your home doesn’t have to be difficult.
First Steps to Save Energy at Home
- Use the EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick to see how much energy your home uses compared to other similar homes. First, download your energy usage history from the last 12 months. If you’re a Rocky Mountain Power or Dominion Energy customer, you can download your electricity and natural gas usage history through your online account access. (Go check now: Rocky Mountain Power | Dominion Energy)
Next, enter your information into the online Home Energy Yardstick analysis to see how your home scores.
You can also get help from Dominion Energy to identify opportunities to save energy with a ThermWise Home Energy Plan. Schedule an appointment with a ThermWise Energy Expert for $25 by calling (800) 695-7375 or e-mailing In-HomePlan@ThermWise.com. If you’re feeling more adventurous, complete the Mail-In Energy Plan by yourself for free.
Check your temperatures
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
- Set your fridge to 38-42°F and your freezer to 0-5°F.
- Lower blinds to avoid excess heating during the summer. Open blinds on sunny days during the winter to add heat.
- Adjust your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer (78-80°F) and a few degrees lower in the winter (68-70°F). When you are asleep or away from home, set your thermostat 7-10°F higher in the summer and lower in the winter. You can save 10% on your heating and cooling costs a year if done 8 hours a day.
Switch to LEDs
Lighting is the easiest place to start saving money. By swapping just 5 conventional 60W bulbs with 9W LEDs, you can save up to $80 a year on your energy bill! Check out discounted pricing for LEDs at these Utah retailers.
- If you’re a Rocky Mountain Power customer, order a Wattsmart Starter Kit and they will send you 4 free LEDs to your door!
- If you live in one of Salt Lake City West side neighborhoods, visit the Sorenson Unity Center to exchange up to 4 inefficient light bulbs for up to 4 FREE energy-saving LEDs! Learn more at Empower SLC.
- Incandescent bulbs can be thrown away but CFL and fluorescent bulbs have to be recycled. Visit Salt Lake County Health Department page on household hazardous waste to find locations of where to recycle your bulbs.
- If your water heater is 10 years old or older, consider replacing it with an energy efficient electric water heater. Heat pump water heaters are the most efficient – 63% more efficient than regular electric water heating. New incentives for heat pump water heaters are available at Wattsmart.
- Insulate your water heater tank with a water-heater blanket. This can increase your energy savings by 7-16% annually.
- Insulate hot water pipes and ducts. This can help you save 3-4% on your water heating bills annually.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Programmable and smart thermostats make it easy to save energy. By using a programmable or smart thermostat, you can stop wasting money heating or cooling your home at night and when you’re away. By choosing different temperatures for different times of day, you can make sure your house is at the perfect temperature when you return home!
Programmable and smart thermostats range in price from under $30 to $250. The most basic will allow you to control the temperature of your home to match your schedule. The most expensive types sync up with your smartphone to automatically determine your schedule and heat and cool your home accordingly, and give you remote access from your smartphone. Incentives are available for the smart thermostats from ThermWise and Wattsmart.
Programmable and smart thermostats can be purchased at most hardware stores, and most are easy to install yourself.
4-minute programmable thermostat installation video
6-minute smart thermostat installation video
Seal Air Leaks
Don’t let your money leak out of the house! Your walls, floor, and ceiling are called your “building thermal envelope,” and the best thing you can do to avoid energy waste is to seal air leaks! If you’re a DIY’er, use the Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR. If you aren’t interested in a moderately DIY project, call one of the ThermWise Authorized Contractors for bids. These changes can increase your energy savings by 10-20% annually.
Next Level Energy Efficiency Steps
- Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home. Although the upfront cost is higher, new rebates are available and the energy savings will pay for the cost overtime. For more information on heat pumps, check out this helpful overview from the US Department of Energy. Find a rebated heat pump heating/cooling system.
- Energy efficient evaporative coolers (also called “swamp” coolers) are perfectly-suited to Utah’s arid desert climate and can cut cooling costs by 75% compared to a central AC! If you’re new to evaporative cooling, check out this great article from Catalyst Magazine. Find a rebated evaporative cooler.
- Portable evaporative coolers (often called “air coolers”) are available at many home improvement retailers and provide very affordable cooling to individuals rooms or an outdoor patio. Find a rebated portable evaporative cooler.
- If you need to replace your central air conditioner, look for a unit that has a SEER rating of 16 or higher.
- If you need to replace your furnace, look for a unit that has an AFUE rating of 95% or higher.
- Replace the filters in your furnace and air-conditioner regularly and keep them tuned-up.
- Insulate furnace ducts and hot water pipes. This can help you save 3-4% on your water heating bills annually.
You can also find a contractor on your own. Follow these recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission when selecting a contractor.
ENERGY STAR products are independently certified to use less energy without sacrificing features or functionality. When you’re replacing or upgrading an appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR logo to find products that will use less energy and save you money.
Check out our Incentive Central page for a roundup of all available energy efficiency rebates and tax incentives.
NOTE: For any purchase you make be sure to keep the receipts, documents, and product information, as they may be needed as part of your rebate application.
- Energy Efficiency for Homes: U.S. Department of Energy
- ENERGY STAR
- Home Energy Saver Calculator
- Home Energy Rating Score: Residential Energy Services Network
- Building Performance Institute