Appliances & Electronics

The average American home produces 9,900 pounds of CO2 per year and spends 20% of its energy bill on powering appliances. Many appliances, such as cell phone chargers, TVs, and coffee pots draw electricity even when they are off. This can amount to 5%-10% of the total electric bill.

You can buy electricity produced from wind or solar sources, for an additional cost, from the utility to support renewable energy production. You can perform an energy audit on your home. Alliance to Save Energy has a free do-it-yourself guide online and so does the EPA.

  • Full-house systems are more efficient because there is less heat loss between the room that is cool and the other rooms
  • Consider installing awnings and planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides of the house to help cool the house in the summer
  • When buying an A/C look for an EER rating of more than 11 and SEER ratings of more than 14, as recommended for Energy Star designation
  • Keep the coils on your AC clean for max efficiency
  • Evaporative coolers use 75% less energy than an AC and can cool air by 20 deg. They work best in dry climates, such as Colorado, but do use a large amount of water.
  • Whole house or ceiling fans are also very effective and use 90% less energy than AC
  • Use a programmable thermostat and turn the AC off when you leave for a long time
  • Energy Star refrigerators consume 40% less than conventional ones
  • A full fridge uses less energy than an empty 1, so keep it stocked
  • Top mounted freezers use less energy than side by side models
  • Set your fridge at 35 - 38 degrees F and your freezer at 0 degrees F
  • Air filters and cleaners
  • Avoid ozone producing cleaners and ionizers
  • A room-by-room air filter system is better than a whole house system because it can work year round, whereas the whole house system only works when air is running through the ducts.
  • HEPA filters are best
  • Make sure to clean or replace filters regularly
  • Vacuum
  • HEPA filters work well or look for even more effective ULPA filters if you have allergies

  • Only run it when the dishwasher is full
  • Unless you are very careful when hand-washing, a dishwasher will use less water (6-15 gal per load) for the same amount of dishes
  • Look for Energy Star dishwashers that use 6 gallons or less per load
  • Skip the pre-rinse and just scrape the food off to save water
  • Air or hand dry dishes instead of drying in the dishwasher to save energy
Washing Machines
  • If you are buying a new 1 look for the Energy Star label
  • A new dryer should have an MEF (Modified Energy Factor) around 1.7
  • New top and front loading machines can be efficient
  • Use cold water as much as possible, you don't need hot water
  • Dryer
  • Use a clothes line instead of a drying machine
  • New legislation in Colorado prohibits HOAs from restricting the use of retractable clothes lines, among other energy efficiency measures.
  • Clean the lint trap before every use to increase efficiency
  • Dry natural and synthetic fibers separate to reduce static and the need for anti-static sheets
  • Stoves
  • Gas is greener than electric, but needs to have electric ignition
  • Induction stoves are the best electrical option. They heat using electromagnetic waves applied to the pot. The surface of the stove remains cool.
  • Always use a lid
  • Don't set the flame so high that it goes past the pot
  • Match the pot to the burner size
  • Use high quality cookware like copper, cast iron, stainless steel or anodized aluminum

  • Convection ovens cook food 25% faster than regular ones
  • Self-cleaning ovens are designed to keep the heat in better than conventional
  • Consider a pressure cooker which can cook faster and takes 75% less energy
  • Slow cookers are also energy efficient
  • Toaster ovens take half the energy to run than a full size 1
  • Batteries and Chargers
  • Find out where to recycle them in your area
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Every rechargeable battery saves 500-1000 regular batteries
  • Rechargeable Batteries can be recycled at many locations.
  • Cell phones
  • Unplug the charger when the charge is full, don't leave overnight.
  • Functioning phones can be donated to EcoCell
  • Erase all personal info
  • Computers
  • Look for the EPEAT environmental label
  • Recycle the computer
  • Use the sleep and hibernate function and turn the computer off entirely overnight and on weekends when not in use
  • Flat screens (LCD) use slightly more power than old fashioned TVs but are more environmentally friendly overall
  • Plasma TVs use double the energy of an LCD
  • Use a power strip because a TV set to off can consume as much as 1/5 the energy of when its on.
  • Use an LED flashlight and save 90% of the energy compared to an incandescent flash light
  • Use hand-crank or solar powered flashlights