Kill-a-WattMore than half of your home’s energy consumption is a result of heating/cooling methods (Baltimore Energy Challenge, 2011). How can you save energy and money?

Abby Moore, a community organizer with Baltimore Energy Challenge, shared these top 10 tips with attendees at a UM Go Green-sponsored sustainability workshop on Nov. 7.

1. Conserve light

Switch to light-efficient bulbs (see UMB Go Green’s light bulb breakdown). Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

2. Heat and cool less

Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.
Use programmable thermostats for “night” and “away” settings.

3. Conserve heat

Remove obstructions from vents and airways. Move heat sources away from your thermostat.

4. Use less hot water

Keep your hot water tank to less than 120 degrees.Wrap your tank with an insulating jacket. Use a vacation setting when you’re away.

5. Use low-flow fixtures for showerheads and faucets
6. Be smart about power

Invest in power and smart strips, and save 5 to 8 percent on your energy bill. Use Energy Star appliances.

Did you know? Chargers use energy even when they’re not charging anything. Unplug them when not in use.

7. Be sustainable about your laundry

Use a cold-water wash, and save 90 percent cost per load. “Your dryer is one of the most inefficient appliances,” Abby says. “Try to line-dry your clothes or use a retractable clothesline.”

8. Keep an efficient fridge

Set your fridge between 37-40 degrees and your freezer between 0-5 degrees. Keep your fridge and freezer full (Looking for ideas? Abby: Try jugs or plastic bags full of water.) Abby: Don’t replace the fridge. Clean the coils every six months, and it will work like new.

9. Clean your furnace

Replace or clean filters. Close off vents in unused rooms.

10. Insulate your home

Abby: During the winter, try wrapping your windows with airtight plastic.

“Don’t forget to share your knowledge with family and friends,” Abby says.

The Baltimore Energy Challenge, a program of the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability in partnership with Civic Works, Inc. and the Baltimore Community Foundation, teaches low- to no-cost ways to save energy to Baltimore residents, businesses, and nonprofits through a grassroots effort in neighborhoods and schools.

They are currently rolling out the Energy Efficiency Program, a free program for Baltimore residents that includes installation of energy and water conservation equipment such as:

  • Programmable thermostats
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Water-saving fixtures
  • Water heater and pipe wraps
  • Power strips
  • CO/Smoke detectors, and more

To sign up for the program, email or call 443-869-2614.

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