Energy Efficiency Tips: 6 Steps for More Energy Efficient Homes

Energy Efficiency Tips: 6 Steps for More Energy Efficient Homes

Energy’s not cheap. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the average U.S. household spent nearly $1,550 on electricity annually in 2015, consuming 10,812 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year, or averaging 901 kWh every month.

Fortunately, today’s technology can help you get a handle of how much juice you’re consuming — and how much it’s costing you. Check out these six appliances, gadgets, and devices designed to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

1. Home Energy Monitors

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is to identify the areas, devices, or appliances consuming the most energy. A monitoring system can help you track your family’s energy usage, displaying how much energy each appliance or device is using — and the associated costs. New models can connect to your Wi-Fi network to deliver energy data to devices connected to the cloud. Some also offer apps that help monitor your home’s energy usage right on your mobile device. Having access to this data can help you determine how behavioral changes, such as turning off a computer or cutting back on the AC, can help you cut costs each month. Electronics stores offer several options in the $100 to $200 range.

2. Smart Power Strips

Devices and appliances plugged in to the wall continue to consume small amounts of electricity even when powered off. “Smart” power strips do double duty: They allow you to plug in more devices while also cutting off the excess power they consume when they aren’t in use. Smart power strips shut down based on a timer, an occupancy sensor or when a “master” device like a computer is turned off.

3. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats automatically reduce your cooling or heating based on a preset schedule. You can set temperatures for daytime and nighttime, and even for specific days of the week. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these devices can save you as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling, or up to $180 a year in energy costs.

4. Energy-efficient Lighting

The average household spends 5 percent of its energy budget on lighting. A simple way to save and increase your home’s energy efficiency is to replace conventional incandescent light bulbs with halogen incandescent, CFL, or LED light bulbs. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, allowing you to save up to $75 each year. You could also opt for lower wattage bulbs — 30 watts instead of 100, for example. For outdoor lighting, consider solar-powered lamps, which recharge during the day and provide light at night.

5. High Efficiency Water Heaters

Hot water production accounts for 13 percent of most household energy use. Unlike conventional models, new and enhanced water heaters with high efficiency pumps can reduce the amount of electricity used to heat water by up to 50 percent or more. These pumps work by drawing in heat from the air, which helps reduce fuel use and carbon emissions while saving you money. 

6. Water-efficient Showerheads

Showering not only uses a significant amount of water — 40 gallons a day for an average family, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — but also saps energy as water is heated and pumped to the showerhead. High-efficiency showerheads with the WaterSense label that provide a lower flow of water can help reduce both water and energy use. The EPA estimates that the average family could save 2,900 gallons of water and 370 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to power a home for 13 days.

Whether you opt for one of these devices or all six, simple updates can put you on the road to improving the energy efficiency of your home and cutting your utility bills.

For more information, check out these 10 tips for increasing your energy efficiency.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.