Wash only full loads of clothes, Lopez said, because it takes the same amount of energy to wash a large or small batch.
Valerie Amor of Fort Lauderdale bought an LG all-in-one washer and dryer combination appliance from Home Depot that uses about half the electricity of separate appliances. “The heat from the motor is recycled to heat the clothes,” said Amor, who writes about green building and sustainability and owns architecture firm Drawing Conclusions.
Clean the lint screen in your dryer before every load. Use the auto-sensor on your dryer so you won’t over-dry clothing. Wash and rinse clothing in cold water and adjust the water level to the load size. Savings: $40 a year.
If it’s not in use, unplug. “Before I go to work I disconnect almost everything in my bedroom, bathroom and the kitchen,” Lopez said.
Amor said she cuts down on “vampire usage” every night. “All of those blinking LED lights you see on when you go to bed — turn them off,” she said. “There’s no reason for them to stay on when they’re not being used.”
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Laptops are more energy efficient than desktops. Non Energy Star-rated LED televisions consume less energy than LCD or Plasma models. A video game console that’s left on continuously can cost up to $130 a year. A DVD player that’s left on costs $7 a year. A desktop printer that stays on costs $65 a year. One with sleep mode will cost $18 a year.
Keep your oven off and your kitchen cooler by cooking on an outdoor grill, or with small appliances such as the microwave, toaster oven or crock pot, which use less energy. Look for Energy Star appliances, and compare projected energy usage before buying.
“If they can make little changes in their routine, they can save a lot of money,” Lopez said. “I always explain to my relatives how easy it is to make a difference in the bill by just changing some habits.”