Household Energy Saving

Save Energy, Save Money and Reduce Carbon Emissions at Home

Why should I care?
Our homes are major centers of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for trapping heat in our atmosphere and result in the warming effect dubbed “global warming,” According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the residential sector accounts for roughly 21% of total primary energy consumption and about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Studies in Fayette County show that residences were responsible for 40.2% of the electricity used in the county and generated 28.4% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

All this energy use is expensive. Even in Kentucky, where utility rates are among the lowest in the country, the average Kentucky home spends about $2,700 per year for energy utilities (electricity and natural gas). Saving energy (and saving money) reduces those payments and leaves money for other needs.

On a larger scale, human-caused increases in greenhouse gas emissions have intensified global warming, which is causing climate change, a long-term change in weather patterns that has been detected through various indicators, including sea-level rise, more frequent and severe natural disasters and increasingly severe precipitation and floods. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas addressed in these recommendations. Methane, a more potent greenhouse gas (meaning it is more effective in trapping heat), is a common byproduct of using natural gas for residential activities. Reducing energy use can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and decrease the likelihood of methane release.

You can implement many of these suggestions whether you rent or own your home and whether you live in a single or multi-family setting. If you follow the suggestions described here, you may save hundreds of dollars each year while at the same time reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and help limit climate change.

What can I do?

Adjust Your Home Routine: These changes cost little or nothing and still save energy.

Lower Water Heater Temperature

Unplug, Turn Off, Use Power Strip to Stop Appliances/Devices

Cook Smarter

  • Use a microwave when you can (they use only about 20% of the energy of conventional cooking).
  • Use lids on pots (retains the heat better, and in summer they help stop excess water loss that would increase humidity).
  • Plan your cooking. For example, unless necessary, in the summer during the hottest part of the day, don’t use the oven or run the dishwasher to avoid heating the house. Run the dishwasher at night for the same reason.
  • See more on the Kentucky Power website (external link)

Do the Laundry

  • Run a full load – small loads use approximately the same amount of energy even though they may use less water and detergent.
  • Clean the lint trap on the dryer every time and check to make sure the vent is not blocked to that the dryer can work efficiently.
  • Clean dryer duct to outside to increase air flow and dryer efficiency.
  • Just as for cooking, don’t run the dryer during the hottest part of the day.
  • See more on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website (external link)

Change Thermostat Settings According to the Season

Adjust Blinds/Curtains During the Day

Spend a Little to Save A Lot

Low cost improvements to save energy.

Seal Air Leaks

Replace old lightbulbs with LED lights

Water Use and Water Heating (reduce water and sewer bills and cost of water heating).

Regularly change or clean the filter on your heating and air-conditioning unit.

Use/Buy Energy Efficient Products

  • An Energy Star rating assures that the product you buy (refrigerator, TV, light bulb) is among the most efficient. If you have decided to keep an old refrigerator for convenience in an unconditioned space (like a garage) the combination of old technology and the lack of temperature control in the environment can increase energy use.
  • See more on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website (external link)

Additional Resources for Improving Home Energy Efficiency (all external links)