Use the tips below to keep your energy bills low all year long.

•  Install Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). They use 75 percent less energy.

•  Buy EnergyStar appliances. They can cut energy bills by 15 to 30 percent.
•  Buy a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust your home’s temperature at certain times of day. In most homes, you can save about 2 percent of your heating bill for each degree that you lower the thermostat. Never turn your heat off completely, or so low that it’s a health hazard.
•  Run the dishwasher only when it is fully loaded. Turn the heated drying selection off.
•  Clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator and make sure the door seals are airtight. (Close the door on a piece of paper. You should feel tension when you pull it out.)
•  Turn off the computer when not in use. It’s a myth that computers will wear out if turned on and off. You also will reduce your air-conditioning needs because monitors generate a lot of heat.
•  Use the “sleep” mode to power down home-office equipment you’re not using.
•  Schedule a professional home energy audit. Check if your utility company or local community organization offer this service. Otherwise, contact a local heating and air conditioning business.

Summer Energy-Saving Tips

•  Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible.
•  Buy an efficient central air conditioner. You can save $600 over the life of the machine by choosing a machine with a SEER rating of at least 16.
•  Don’t buy a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it’s supposed to cool. (For guidance, call 1-800-363-3732 and get a free Energy Savers booklet.)
•  Clean or replace air-conditioner filters.
•  Close window coverings during the day.
•  Don’t place heat-generating appliances near the thermostat.
•  Avoid hot showers, hair dryers, and baking to keep your home cooler.

Winter Energy-Saving Tips

•  Set water heater at 120 degrees (warm setting).
•  Cover water heater with an insulating blanket.
•  Clean or replace filters as needed.
•  Caulk leaky windows and seal up the largest air leaks in your house.
•  Properly insulate your attic.
•  Close doors to rooms not in use.

For More Information on Energy Savings

Alliance to Save Energy (ASE)
A coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy and national security.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
A nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection.

Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Inc. (CEE)
A national, nonprofit organization that promotes energy-efficient products and services.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN), U.S. Department of Energy
A comprehensive source for the Department of Energy’s information on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
1-800-363-3732 (Call the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse to get free literature on how to save energy and money at home. Material also is available in Spanish.)

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)
Bureau of Energy and Recycling Provides Illinois citizens and businesses with technical advice, financial assistance and research support to develop and demonstrate promising technologies in energy conservation, alternative energy, recycling and waste reduction.
Springfield: 217-782-7500
Chicago: 312-814-7179

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
A regional network of government agencies, utilities and organizations collaborating to promote energy efficiency.