Energy Efficiency For The New Year

I’ve had lots of people ask me in the last couple of weeks how they can start being more green, start being more energy efficient, in the new year.

Image from

It seemed logical to not only answer them, but to share those answers with you all. As it turns out, making your house and your lifestyle more energy efficient is actually pretty easy. It takes some changing of lightbulbs, and a few changing of habits, but it’s not nearly as hard as foregoing sugar and wheat, as one of my friends is doing this year, bless her heart. I might actually waste away to nothing without my two major food groups.

But back to energy efficiency:

1. Change those light bulbs – but no need to take out perfectly good incandescent bulbs, just change them when they burn out and change them to CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.

2. Weather-proof your doors and windows, or replace old double-hung windows with new double-pane versions. There are manufacturers of new, up-to-code double-hung, double-pane windows out there, including Ocean Sash and Door of San Francisco, who’ve been around since 1880. Weatherproofing is easier and weatherstripping can be purchased at your local hardware store. We bought enough to do our 1,000 square-foot apartment for under $50.

Image from

3. Turn off lights when you leave the room. I know, this sounds like such old news, but it’s easy to leave lights on all over the place.

4. Hang-dry your clothes. I have to admit, I thought this was the biggest pain in the neck when I first moved to the tropics and didn’t have a washing machine, much less a dryer (and there were no laundromats – we didn’t even have electricity on Tuesdays and Thursdays). But, once I had a dedicated clothes line, I found stepping outside and seeing the day (cloudy, brilliantly clear, windy, still as holding your breath), taking time to breathe and stretch as I hung each piece, was a welcome 10-minute respite from bench-work and the computer. One of my most favorite things was hanging clothes in the moonlight. There is nothing like rustling palms, a warm breeze, gazillions of stars, music from far off in the distance and only the light of the moon to see by. For one night (and I was lucky to have many) of that experience I would hang-dry my clothes for a lifetime.

5. If you’re remodelling, or have a pre-1995 major appliance, go with ENERGY STAR. You’ll save money and energy. Check out Recurve for rebate information.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Headline Photo © Wendy Kaveney |


John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks. I have to admit since only 1 light can be seen from outside the home that I leave it on for several hours every night. I'm here 2 hours, but 3 hours I am not, however it is a low wat CFL, and since I burn mine out probably from on-offing them I thought this would help.

Carol Cowbrough
Carol C6 years ago


Will L.
Past Member 6 years ago


Glenda S.
Glenda S6 years ago

thanks for sharing

Dana W.
Dana W6 years ago

Thanks - I also do all my laundry in cold water and let my dishes air dry.

Gwendolyn offline
Gwendolyn Krupa6 years ago

Here in the North our heating bill and energy use to keep warm are high. We have decided not to turn our thermostat above 65 unless we have small children or overnight guests who are cold. I love my heavy robe and cozy slippers and wear undershirts and sweaters or hoodies over my warm shirts. Leg warmers and warm socks help, too.
I have a couple cloths lines and a wooden drying rack in the basement utility room. I still use the dryer for towels and blankets, etc. due to space, but it's great to be able to hang somethings. It cuts down on dryer usage. Also using cold water for washing as much as possible helps. The clothes seem to come out nice and clean.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B6 years ago

great info... thanks

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS6 years ago

1) I'd love to hang my laundry outside, but it's against the rental agreement for the apartment building. Sadly, too many people associate clotheslines with ghettos, so many buildings prohit them.

2) Use a coffee press instead of a coffeemaker. Not only will it save energy, but the coffee tastes better. Also, use an electric kettle to boil the water rather than boil it on the stove. Again, it uses less electricity.

3) Let your dishes air dry. If you have a dishwasher, it saves a lot on energy there. If you do your dishes by hand, it still saves energy because you doing use as many kitchen towels and so don't have to wash them as often, using, of course, electricity...

Caz Caswell
Norman Caswell6 years ago

There are many more way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and be greener.

Boil only enough water for your needs.

In the UK installing a Voltage Optimiser will reduce your bills by 10% overall.

A Voltage Optimiser will reduce electricity consumption by 17% for fridges and freezers, 15% for lighting (10% of the latest energy saving light bulbs), and 3-10% for TV's, HiFi's, and other entertainment systems.

These systems cost £250 VAT plus the cost of installation.

Happy Savings All

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman6 years ago