Low- to No-Cost Tips for Saving Energy at Home

If you rent an apartment, townhouse, or a home, these tips will show you how to be more energy efficient while saving money, and reducing the risks of climate change. If there are things you can't change on your own, share these tips and encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better.


Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR certified lights can save about $40 a year in energy costs. ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs provide high-quality light output, use up to 90% less energy, and last 15 times longer than standard bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs.

  • Replace a bulb and reduce your carbon footprint! A single light bulb that has earned the ENERGY STAR prevents, on average, 780 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.


Considering purchasing a room air conditioner? Choose an ENERGY STAR certified model. They use 9 percent less energy than standard models and on average, cost less than $70 per year to run. ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners come with better materials and clearer instructions to improve sealing and insulation around the unit, so costly and uncomfortable air leaks are minimized.

  • In the winter, be sure to insulate room air conditioners from the outside with a tight-fitting a/c unit cover, available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This keeps heated air from escaping outside. Alternately, you can remove the window unit in the winter months to prevent energy losses.
  • Be sure the window unit fits tightly in the window so outdoor air is not getting in.

ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners with connected functionality offer additional convenience, comfort and energy-savings, including the ability to:

  • turn off the unit remotely using your phone or computer;

  • schedule changes to temperature settings based on your needs;

  • receive feedback on the energy use of the product.

To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close window shades and drapes in warm weather. During cold weather, take advantage of the sun's warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours.

Smart Thermostats

For the average American household, almost half the annual energy bill goes to heating and cooling – more than $900 a year! Being smart about how you control your temperature settings will help you save money and stay comfortable in your home. If possible, install a smart thermostat to automatically adjust your home's temperature settings for optimal performance. An ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling bill by more than 8% and save you about $50 a year, on average. If your home is unoccupied much of the day, an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat can save approximately $100 a year.


Consumer electronics play an large role in your home's energy consumption. According to the Consumer Technology Association, 3.4 billion consumer electronic devices consumed about 143 tWh of electricity in 2017, representing about 10% of residential sector electricity consumption.  A home equipped with televisions, set-top boxes, a Blu-Ray player and a soundbar that have earned the ENERGY STAR can save about $130 over the life of those products. 

  • Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment.
    • Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment can use a small amount of electricity. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.

Air Registers/Vents

Make sure all air registers are clear of furniture so that air can circulate freely. If your home has radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between radiators and walls. In the winter, this will help heat the room instead of the wall.

Water Savings 


A ten minute shower can use less water than a full bath.

  • With a new 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head, a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, saving you five gallons of water over a typical bath. A new showerhead also will save energy — up to $145 each year on electricity — beating out both the bath and an old-fashioned showerhead.
  • To avoid moisture problems, control humidity in your bathroom by running your ventilating fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths.


Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher with a full load and use the air-dry option if available.

  • Rinsing dirty dishes before loading your dishwasher uses a lot of water and energy. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher's energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.

Clothes Washing

Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.

  • Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents. 
  • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.

Clothes Drying

Don't over dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done, use it to avoid over drying. Remember to clean the lint trap before every load. Dry full loads, or reduce drying time for partial loads.

  • It's easy to over dry your clothes, if one setting is used for various fabric types. Try to dry loads made up of similar fabrics, so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends. Many dryers come with energy-saving moisture or humidity sensors that shut off the heat when the clothes are dry. If you don't have this feature, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load. A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes per load can cost you up to $34, every year.
  • The lint trap is an important energy saver. Dryers work by moving heated air through wet clothes, evaporating and then venting water vapor outside. If the dryer cannot provide enough heat, or move air sufficiently through the clothes, they will take longer to dry, and may not dry at all. One of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency is to clean the lint trap before each and every load. This step also can save you up to $34 each year.