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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green today
Learn 153 ways to be eco-friendly while saving green.
Green today
153 ways to go green
Energy: Quick fix
Tips » Quick fix $ Factor
Tip 31:
Turn the heat up (or down).
About 47 percent of the average household's annual energy bills stem from heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Adjusting your thermostat is free, easy and can yield big savings.
$ Factor:
Every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer will reduce air conditioning bills by about 2 percent, said Jeff Deyette, energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Lowering the temperature by one degree in winter will save you 3 percent on heating bills.
Tip 32:
Install a programmable thermostat.
If your house is empty for long periods of time while your family is at work or school, a programmable thermostat may make sense. It allows you to use less heat or air conditioning when you're away from home or sleeping.
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Programmable thermostats start at about $30, are easy to install and will shave about 10 percent off of your heating and cooling bills, says Ronnie Kweller, spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy. The average annual savings is about $100.
Tip 33:
Switch to cold water.
Almost 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Save money and energy. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water, instead of hot, using a detergent formulated for cold-water use.
$ Factor:
Turning the dial from hot to warm will cut your energy use by 50 percent per load and save you up to $63 a year, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.
Tip 34:
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, according to Energy Star. They're more expensive than traditional light bulbs, but it only takes about three months to make up for the higher sticker price in energy savings. For the most impact, replace the bulbs in the fixtures you use most, such as the kitchen, bathroom, dining and family room lights.
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You will save $85 over the life of the bulb for each 60-watt light bulb you replace with a 15-watt compact fluorescent, according to Energy Star. You'll also save 543 kilowatt hours of electricity and reduce your CO2 emissions by 833 pounds.
Tip 35:
Buy a power strip.
Did you know that your appliances use electricity even when they are turned off? It's called a phantom load, or vampire power. As much as 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics and small appliances is used while they're turned off, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The Ohio Consumers Council estimates that it costs consumers $40 to $100 a year.
$ Factor:
The simple solution is to unplug small appliances and electronics when you aren't using them. Or plug them into a power strip and turn the power strip off when you aren't using those items. Power strips cost $10 to $20 each and can save you up to $100 a year, depending on how many electronics you have. Simply unplugging one television, computer monitor and fax machine when you aren't using it will save you about $6 a month.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007

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