Approximately 22 percent of the energy used in the United States is consumed by the residential sector, that is, in houses and apartments. Most of the energy consumed in apartment buildings still comes either directly or indirectly from fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, or coal. These fuels are non-renewable resources and, in the case of oil and natural gas, world supplies could be exhausted in the not too distant future. Therefore, it is in everyone's best interest to use these precious energy resources wisely while new energy sources are being developed.
Despite major successes in energy conservation in the last decade, there is much that Americans can still do in this area. This booklet contains information on a number of measures that will help you as a tenant reduce the amount of energy you use in your apartment. Many of these measures will also help make your apartment a more comfortable place to live. Some of the measures suggested may seem trivial but when added together with your other conservation measures and those of other apartment residents they can result in significant energy savings for our Nation.
The energy conservation measures discussed are largely no cost, low cost (under $10), or moderate cost ($11 to $50), and even the most expensive measure would probably cost well under a $100 to implement. Few of the measures require any significant physical alteration of your apartment and most require only a change in your energy use habits.
ENERGY USE IN THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR
Implementing any of the measures requiring some alteration of your apartment, such as caulking and weatherstripping or putting up low cost storm windows made of plastic sheeting, be sure to get your landlord's permission.
Nationwide, space heating is the largest consumer of energy in the residential sector and accounts for nearly 50 percent of energy used in a typical household, water heating accounts for 14 percent, refrigeration for 13 percent, space cooling for seven percent, and lighting, cooking, and appliances for the remainder.
This document emphasizes energy conservation measures in these areas where you, the tenant, can realize the largest energy savings. It also emphasizes measures that not only save energy, but make your apartment a more pleasant place to live. It suggests ways you can seal up leaks in your apartment so heat doesn't escape in the winter and cool air doesn't escape in the summer. It will show you how you can turn down your thermostat in the winter and turn it up in the summer while maintaining a comfortable living environment. It will show you how you can reduce the total wattage of lighting in your apartment while increasing the amount of usable light. It suggests ways that you can reduce the amount of hot water you use for bathing, dishwashing, and laundering and it will show you how to make the most energy efficient use of your appliances.
Persons over 65, infants, and persons with certain illnesses risk hypothermia if they stay indoors at temperatures under 65 degrees.
If you think you risk hypothermia by turning your thermostat below 65 degreesF consult your doctor.
Nationwide more energy is consumed to heat apartments and houses than for any other purpose (though in some areas of the southern U.S. air conditioning or water heating may account for a larger share of regional energy consumption), so the largest energy savings can be made in this area. (You may click here to jump to an article on gas heat.)
For apartments that have them, thermostats offer the single greatest opportunity to conserve energy. They also offer the easiest way to conserve, requiring nothing more than adjusting a dial to the desired temperature setting. Advice on settings range from 65 degrees F to 68 degrees F for the hours you're active to 50 degrees F to 60 degrees F when you're in bed.
Some thermostats have an automatic set back feature that can be set to lower the temperature around the time you go to bed and raise it again shortly before you get up in the morning. Some thermostats provide for double set backs, allowing you to not only automatically raise and lower the temperature at night and in the morning, but to automatically lower it during the day while you're out and to raise it shortly before you return in the evening. Although many people mistakenly believe that it takes more energy to heat up a cold apartment than it does to keep an apartment at a constant comfortable temperature, this is seldom the case. Make sure your thermostat is not in a draft. It will sense the cooler air and make the furnace work longer overheating your apartment.
If your apartment has radiators they should be kept clean since dirt and dust absorb heat. Radiator covers should be removed when radiators are in use because the covers absorb heat and block the flow of air through the radiator.
There are two types of radiators: 1) steam, and 2) hot water. In general there are only two times you should adjust your radiator's steam or hot water valve, when turning it on and turning it off. Positioning the valve in between does not regulate heat, but only strains the pipes. If your apartment is too hot, don't open the window. Instead turn the steam or hot water valve all the way off until the temperature in your apartment is comfortable.
To operate most efficiently, a hot water type radiator must be completely filled with hot water. At least once a year at the start of the heating season your radiators should be purged of trapped air.
This is accomplished by opening the bleeder valve on each radiator. The bleeder valve is the small valve located at the top and on the end of the radiator. Some bleeder valves can be opened with a screw driver while others are opened with a key available at hardware stores. When the valve is opened any trapped air will escape with a hiss followed by a flow of hot water. Once water begins to escape close the valve immediately. Bleed radiators running cooler than normal throughout the heating season.
If your apartment is equipped with steam type radiators it is important to check their air vent valves each heating season. This vent allows air to escape so that steam can enter the radiator. The valve is usually a small chrome plated device mounted on the top of the radiator at the end opposite the steam valve. This valve should always be standing straight up with the vent hole at the top. The vent hole must be kept free of dirt and paint for the radiator to operate efficiently.
Radiator reflectors are insulation boards with aluminum or another shiny material on one side. Placed on the wall behind the radiator unit, they reflect heat back into the room, instead of allowing the heat to seep through the wall or nearby window. They are a moderate-cost item available from hardware stores. You'll spend even less money if you build your own reflector. To do this, buy a piece of insulation board and cut it to cover an area of wall slightly larger than that covered by the radiator. Cover one side of the insulation board with aluminum foil or some other reflective material. Then fasten the reflector to the wall behind the radiator. Whether you buy or build a reflector, be sure that when installed it does not touch the radiator since it will conduct heat into the wall behind it instead of reflecting it back into the room.
Make yourself comfortable by putting on another layer of clothing. Sweaters, jackets, and flannel shirts can be removed when you're active and put back on when you're at rest.
Your apartment will lose warm air to an unheated hallway or to the outdoors, so keep your apartment door closed.
A poorly fitted apartment door will allow warm air to escape from an apartment during the winter months. However, there are a number of simple no- to moderate cost techniques for making your door more airtight (see illustration). Warm air can escape between the door frame and the wall. If this is the case in your apartment, caulk between the frame and the wall. The loss of warm air is frequently greatest under the bottom of the door. This air loss can be prevented by installing a door sweep on the bottom edge of your door. A no or low cost alternative to a door sweep is a draft guard. This is a closed tube of cloth filled with sand which is laid against the bottom of your door. You can buy this product cheaply, but the no cost way is to make it yourself. ut a 4" to 5" inch wide strip from an old sheet, dress or shirt. The strip should be several inches longer than the gap it will plug. Sew the sides and one end together, then fill with sand and sew shut. Around the remainder of the door, weatherstrip where the door closes against the frame.
During the winter months pull shut blinds, shades, and drapes on all windows at night and on windows with a northern exposure during the day. Open them on windows whenever the windows receive direct, warming sunlight. Uncover eastern facing windows in the morning, western facing windows in the evening and windows with a southern exposure during all daylight hours.
There are a number of ways that warm air can escape through your windows. It can escape between the window frame and the wall. This type of leak can be stopped by caulking between the frame and the wall. Warm air can be lost between the movable window sash and the window frame and between the top and bottom sash in a double hung window. (The window sash is the panes of glass and the framework into which they are set.) In this case, air loss can be prevented by weatherstripping the movable sash (see illustration). Rope caulk can be placed over the cracks between the sash and the window frame and where the upper and lower sashes meet. This is the least expensive
form of weatherstripping but also the least durable; it will dry out in about a year. An additional disadvantage of rope caulk is that it must be removed in order to open the window. Plastic, felt, or foam weatherstripping can be placed on the window frame pressing against the sash. These types of weatherstripping will last longer than rope caulk and the window can be used without removing the weatherstripping.
The most durable weatherstripping is spring metal or plastic weatherstripping that can be placed between the sash and the frame and between the upper and lower sash. Typically, these types of weatherstripping will last for several years and do not interfere with the use of the window. Air can also escape around the edges of a loose pane or through cracks in the glass.
Caulk or tape around the edge of a loose pane where it meets the framework of the sash. Replace a cracked pane or tape over the crack until the pane can be replaced. Weatherproofing your doors and windows will make your apartment more comfortable while conserving energy.
Inexpensive Storm Windows
During the winter months a great deal of heat is lost through the glass in your windows. Ideally, your apartment is supplied with storm windows, but if not, you can make your own out of clear plastic sheeting (see illustration). The plastic sheeting is applied to the inside of the window frame and completely covers the sash. The plastic will stop leaks, and the dead air between the plastic and the window will slow the transfer of heat to the outside.
The plastic you will use can be purchased by the roll. It should be at least 8 mils thick so that it's rugged enough to last the entire winter. Buy it wide enough to cover your widest window from the outside of its frame on one side to the outside of its frame on the other. Estimate the length of plastic you will need by measuring the height of each of your windows from the bottom to the top of their frames and adding their total height. There are a number of methods you can use to apply the plastic to the window frame. These include tape, glue, tacks, and woodstrips and nails. Commercial mounting kits that allow for the reuse of the plastic are also available. No matter how you apply it, for maximum effectiveness, make sure that the seal
between the plastic and the window frame is airtight. Leave one or two windows free of plastic so they can be opened for ventilation.
Air Conditioner Covers
Window and wall mounted air conditioners cool your apartment even in winter by letting in chilly drafts and by presenting a cold surface. If you can't remove the unit and close the window, this energy loss can be stopped with an outdoor air conditioner cover made of tough plastic. An inside cover should be used in addition to or, if you cannot safely reach the outside of your unit, in place of an outdoor cover. Air conditioner covers are low cost items.
Solar Panels for Renters
Is solar possible if you're renting and live in an apartment? Yes, it's possible, but the decision is all up to the landlord since it involves installation on the rental property. But it might be worth asking your landlord if your energy bill is really high and you're looking to find ways to easily pay less money for electricity. But as a start there are small solar panels that you can hang in your window that produce enough energy to power smaller devices such as your cellphone.
When not in use, a kitchen exhaust fan allows warm air to escape from your apartment. Low-cost covers are available for exhaust fan openings.
Humidity makes the air feel warmer. This is a disadvantage during the summer but a definite plus in the winter If you have a room humidifier, check its water frequently. If not, keep shallow pans of water on radiators or near air delivery vents. During the winter don't use the exhaust fan in your kitchen or in your bathroom after bathing or showering, instead keep the doors open to other rooms and use the moisture to humidify your apartment. Green plants are also good humidifiers. Additionally, higher humidity can help alleviate sinus conditions aggravated by the very dry indoor air typical during the winter.
Arrange your furniture and drapes so they do not block or obstruct heat vents, radiators, or baseboard heaters.
If forced air enters your apartment through an inconveniently located register, for example, one located under a piece of furniture, direct the air where you want it with an air deflector. This is a scoop shaped device which is attached over the register, typically with magnets. Air deflectors are low cost items.
Air Conditioner Cleaning
If you use a room unit in your apartment check the filter at least once at the beginning of the cooling season. If it's clogged, your unit will operate inefficiently and run longer than necessary. Clean the filter or replace it it's a low cost item. If you can do so safely, check and clean the condenser coils and fins (the grills or spines on the outdoor side of the unit).
Temperature Control Setting
The temperature control should be set no lower than 78 degrees F. Most window units do not have specific degree markings, so refer to a thermometer placed in a part of the room away from the unit's air flow. Don't set the control to a temperature below 78 degrees F when starting up the unit. It won't cool the room faster, and if you forget to set it to a higher temperature once the room is comfortable, you'll be wasting energy.
Air Conditioner Thermostat
Don't place lamps, TV sets or other heat sources near your air conditioner thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and could cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Wear loose, light weight, light colored clothing in warm weather. This type of clothing allows air to pass across your skin evaporating moisture and cooling you.
Make sure that the furniture in your apartment is arranged so it does not block or obstruct air conditioning vents or warm air returns.
Your apartment will lose cool air to an un-air conditioned hallway or to the outdoors, so keep your apartment or closed.
A poorly fitted apartment door will allow cool air to escape from your air conditioned apartment during the summer months. However, there are a number of simple no- to moderate-cost techniques for making your door more airtight. Cool air can escape between the door frame and the wall. If this is the case in your apartment, caulk between the frame and the wall. The loss of cool air is frequently greatest under the bottom of the door. This air loss can be prevented by installing a door sweep on the bottom edge of your door.
A no or low cost alternative to a door sweep is a draft guard. This is a closed tube of cloth filled with sand which is laid against the bottom of your door. You can buy this product cheaply, but the no-cost way is to make it yourself. Cut a 4 to 5 inch wide strip from an old sheet, dress or shirt. The strip should be several inches longer than the gap it will plug. Sew the sides and one end together, then fill with sand and sew shut. Around the remainder of the door, weatherstrip where the door closes against the frame.
Try to avoid opening windows when the outdoor temperature is uncomfortably warmer than the inside. During the day when you don't need light, keep the shades, blinds, or drapes drawn. This prevents the sun from heating up your apartment. Turn off the air conditioning and open the windows on cool days and night.
There are a number of ways that cool air can escape through your windows. It can escape between the window frame and the wall. This type of leak can be stopped by caulking between the frame and the wall. Cool air can be lost between the movable window sash and the window frame and between the top and bottom sash in a double hung window. In this case, air loss can be prevented by weatherstripping the movable sash. Rope caulk can be placed over the cracks between the sash and the window frame and where the upper and lower sashes meet. This is the least expensive form of weatherstripping but also
the least durable: it will dry out in about a year.
An additional disadvantage of rope caulk is that it must be removed in order to open the window. Plastic, felt, or foam weatherstripping can be placed on the window frame pressing against the sash. These types of weatherstripping will last longer than rope caulk and the window can be used without removing the weatherstripping. The most durable weatherstripping is spring metal or plastic weatherstripping that can be placed between the sash and the frame and between the upper and lower sash. Typically, these types of weatherstripping will last for several years and do not interfere with the use of the window. Air can also escape around the edges of a loose pane or through cracks in the glass. Caulk or tape around the edge of a loose pane where it meets the framework of the sash. Replace a cracked pane or tape over the crack until the pane can be replaced. Weatherproofing your doors and windows will make your apartment more comfortable while conserving energy.
The outdoor air temperature is frequently comfortable, especially at night, but there may be no breeze to bring the cooler air into your apartment. (Buy an outdoor thermometer, a low cost item, and mount it so it's visible from your window. It will tell you when it's cool outside.) When the temperature outside is comfortable use a window fan instead of continuing to use the air conditioner. A fan requires as little as one tenth the energy needed to run an air conditioner. If your air conditioner has an "outside air" control to bring in fresh air use it without turning on the cooling section. The
compressor motor in the unit is the big energy user, not the fan. Be sure to close the outside air" control when operating the compressor (cooling position) so that the compressor is cooling only room air.
There is a product that cuts the cost of running a fan over 45% called the Green Electricitiy SaverTM Model 3000. This product saves electricity by increasing the power factor so inductive loads run more efficiently.
When not in use, a kitchen exhaust fan allows cool air to escape from your apartment. Low-cost covers are available for exhaust fan openings.
Lights, Cooking, and Appliances
Electric lights, cooking, and the use of other appliances such as the washer and dryer generate heat and increase the load on your air conditioner. Keep lights low or off whenever possible. Try to schedule cooking and the use of appliances for the cooler parts of the day, i.e., the morning and late evening. If you must use the oven for a number of hours, shut the kitchen off from the rest of the apartment and use the kitchen exhaust fan to draw off the heat you create cooking.
High humidity makes warm air even more uncomfortable, especially when you're active. Reschedule chores such as floor washing, dishwashing, laundering, and bathing and showering that produce moisture until cooler times of day or night.
When leaving a room for even a short time, turn off the lights.
When possible schedule those activities requiring good lighting for the daytime. Place your reading chair near the window. Dirty windows let in less light so keep them clean.
Clean Bulbs and Fixtures
Dirt and grime from cooking, cigarette smoke, and dust obstruct light, so keep bulbs, fixtures, and shades clean. For safety's sake bulbs should be removed from their fixtures before being cleaned and should be thoroughly dried before being replaced. Make sure bulbs are cool before cleaning, a hot bulb should never be put in water.
Make sure that lamps are positioned so that the most efficient use can be made of their light. If you have a lamp by your reading chair or at your desk you won't have to light up the whole room.
Many decorative lamp shades bottle up light or direct it where you don't need it. Light-colored translucent shades are the best for releasing light. Shades on reading lamps should direct most of the light downward. Remember to keep shades clean to let out more light.
Light Colored Walls and Furnishings
Lighter colored walls, furnishings, curtains, and rugs reflect light and reduce the amount of artificial light needed in a room.
Reduce the Wattage of Light Bulbs
The total wattage of light bulbs used in an apartment can be reduced two ways:
1) by using lower wattage light bulbs
2) by replacing a number of lower wattage bulbs with one higher wattage bulb.
Lower wattage bulbs should be used in halls, vestibules, and other places where no close-up work or reading occur. In areas that need better lighting it is generally more efficient to use a higher wattage bulb than a number of lower wattage bulbs. For example, you need six 25 watt bulbs to get the same amount of light you get from one 100 watt bulb, and the six 25 watt bulbs use 50 percent more electricity.
Energy Saving Bulbs
Energy saving bulbs can be used to replace higher wattage bulbs often without a noticeable difference in lighting levels. The customary 40, 60, 75, 100, and 150 watt bulbs are replaced by energy saving bulbs of 34, 52, 67, 90 and 135 watts respectively.
Task lamps provide direct lighting over desks, workbenches, sewing tables, etc. You save energy when you use them instead of the higher wattage general lighting in the room.
In an overlighted area remove one bulb in three and replace it with a burned out bulb for safety.
Long-life bulbs are more expensive and less efficient than standard bulbs of the same wattage.
Fluorescent bulbs produce about three to four times as much light per watt as incandescent bulbs. For example, a 40 watt fluorescent bulb produces more light than a 150 watt incandescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs are generally more expensive but last 10 to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. While fluorescent lighting may not be appropriate in the living room, dining room or bedroom it should be considered for the kitchen, bathroom, and work area. Light weight fluorescent fixtures can easily be mounted in these rooms and plugged into nearby outlets. Deluxe white-fluorescent bulbs produce the most pleasing light.
Solid state dimmers allow you to reduce the energy going to incandescent bulbs. A light can be adjusted from bright for reading to a gentle glow for watching TV or dining. Some dimmers require no installation. The lamp is simply plugged into the dimmer and the dimmer into a wall socket. Wall switches can also be replaced by dimmer switches. (More information on Efficient Lighting from another article can be found here.)
If you don't like coming home to a dark apartment, or want the added protection of leaving some lights on when no one's home, consider lighting timers, which turn lights on and off automatically at pre set times. Using timers is much less costly in the long run than leaving your lights on all day.
A five minute shower uses only about one half as much water as a bath.
Water Saver Shower Head
Water saver shower heads cut the flow of water by 40 to 60 percent and typically have a water cut-off lever. With this latter feature you can turn off the water while you lather up. These shower heads frequently have settings for different types of spray. Water saver shower heads are low-to-moderate cost items that just screw on to your existing shower arm.
Just one drip a second from a leaky faucet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a month. A leak that can fill a coffee cup in 10 minutes can waste up to 3,280 gallons of water a year. If the leak is hot water, you're wasting energy. However, you can fix your own leaky faucet. Most faucet leaks are caused by poor contact between the rubber washer at the base of the spindle and the valve seat. Replacing a worn washer is a relatively simple operation. First buy a low-cost faucet repair kit from your local hardware store. It will contain a variety of different size washers and gaskets. Before beginning to disassemble the faucet turn off the shutoff valve
closest to the faucet to be repaired (this valve is usually located under the sink). Then turn on the faucet and let the remaining water drain out. Using a wrench, loosen the packing nut by turning it to the left. Use the faucet handle to pull out the valve unit. Remove the screw at the bottom of the valve unit that holds the washer in place. Install the new washer (if you don't have a new washer, try turning the old one over), replace the screw, and reverse the steps described above.
Installing an aerator in your kitchen sink faucet will reduce the amount of water in the flow. You'll use less hot water and save the energy that would be required to heat it. The lower flow pressure is hardly noticeable. The sinks in many modern apartments are already equipped with aerators, so check with your landlord before trying to install one.
Turn Them Off
Don't leave appliances running when you're not using them.
Keep Appliances in Good Working Order
They will last longer, operate more efficiently, and use less energy.
Be Energy Conscious When Buying Appliances
Compare energy use information and operating costs of similar models by the same and different manufacturers. An appliance with a lower initial purchase cost may in the long run cost you more than an energy efficient model with a higher initial purchase cost. Many types of appliances are required by law to have labels showing estimated annual operating costs.
Before buying a new appliance with special features, find out how much energy it uses in comparison to a model without the features. For example, a frost free refrigerator uses more energy than one that must be defrosted manually. It also costs more to purchase. The energy and dollars you can save may make it worth passing up the convenience of this and other special features.
Use Appliances Wisely
Use the appliance that requires the least amount of energy for the job. For example, toasting bread in the oven takes three times as much energy as toasting it in a toaster.
Unlike most household appliances that are operated only periodically, the refrigerator-freezer operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year. New York City estimates that over 25 percent of the general electrical costs in an average City apartment is accounted for by the refrigerator.
At least once a year carefully clean the condenser coils of your refrigerator using either the crevice tool attachment of the vacuum cleaner or a long handled brush. These coils are located either behind or beneath the refrigerator.
The gasket is the strip of flexible plastic or rubber around your refrigerator door that seals the crack between the door and the cabinet when the door is closed. Dried food on the gasket can break this seal, so clean the gasket periodically to assure that the seal is air tight.
A temperature of 38 F to 40 F is generally recommended for refrigerators and 0 F for freezers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but check these settings by placing a thermometer in both sections.
Food retains cold better than air, so keep units as full as possible but don't overcrowd so air can circulate freely. For the freezer compartment, stack items tightly. Add extra bags of ice if you don't have enough food packages.
Liquids should always be capped or covered in the refrigerator compartment. If they're not, they add to the humidity in the refrigerator, and high humidity makes the compressor work longer. Covering also protects the flavor of foods and beverages.
The loss of cold air is substantial every time you open your refrigerator and freezer door, so know what you want before you open the door, remove it quickly and shut the door. Arrange your refrigerator so things are easy to find and the most frequently used items are also the most easily accessible. In the freezer, label items with freezer tape and magic marker for quick identification.
Humidity or Power Saver Switch
Many refrigerators have a humidity or power saver switch. Its purpose is to control small electric heaters around the edge of the door that stop the door from sweating on humid days. At all other times this heating serves no useful purpose. Keep it switched to the power saving or low humidity position for most of the year.
Don't take meats or other large frozen items from the freezer and thaw them on the kitchen countertop. Instead transfer them from the freezer to the.refrigerator the day before they are to be used. The frozen items will help to cool the refrigerator as they defrost cutting down on the energy the refrigerator uses.
Allow Items to Cool
Allow hot items to cool to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to cool refrigerators and freezers, so defrost regularly. Never allow your freezer to build up frost more than one quarter of an inch thick.
Range and Oven
Never boil water in an open pan it will boil faster in a kettle or covered pan. Boil only the amount of water You need.
Use a steamer or pressure cooker if you have one.
They not only save energy but also preserve the nutritional value of food.
If you have a gas range, make sure the flame is blue and cone shaped by keeping the burner clean and unclogged. You can use a piece of wire or pipe cleaner to unclog burner ports. If cleaning doesn't help call your apartment superintendent or appliance service representative. Keep burner reflectors shiny and they will reflect more heat.
Pots and Pans
Use flat bottomed pots and pans, they provide faster heat transfer. The pot or pan should completely cover the burner or heating element. A small pan on a large burner wastes energy. Shiny pans and clean reflectors help focus heat.
Turn Off the Range
If you use an electric range, turn off burners shortly before the recommended cooking time is completed, the heat retained in the element will finish the job.
Food cooks faster in pots and pans with tight fitting covers.
Plan to cook as many dishes together as possible. If one dish calls for 325 degrees F, another for 350 degrees F, and a third for 375 degrees F, set the oven for 350 degrees F. Cut a few minutes off the recipe time for the lower temperature dish and
add a few minutes to the higher temperature dish.
Preheat only when absolutely necessary and don't preheat for dishes cooked for an hour or more. In any case, never preheat for more than 10 minutes.
Don't Open the Door
Every time you open the oven door, the oven loses about 20 percent of its heat, so don't keep opening the door to see if your dish is done. Follow the time in the recipe instead.
Use thermometers and timers to avoid overcooking.
If you have more than one oven, use the smallest one that will do the job. For example, a toaster oven may cost half as much to operate as a full oven, but will cook or heat small items just as well.
Use the Range Instead of the Oven
Whenever you can, use the rangetop instead of the oven. The range uses far less energy.
When cooking or baking, double recipes and freeze half for future use.
Thaw frozen foods (except when package instructions or recipes indicate otherwise) before cooking in the oven. Frozen meats require 20 minutes longer per pound to cook than thawed meat.
Turn Off the Oven
Turn off the oven a few minutes before the recommended cooking time. The retained heat will finish the job.
Rearrange oven shelves before you cook, not while the oven is on. Allow at least one inch of space around each utensil in the oven and when using more than one shelf, stagger the utensils for better heat distribution.
Minimize the Use of the Self Clean Feature Use the self cleaning feature only when absolutely necessary and start the cleaning cycle after using the oven to utilize retained heat. Wipe up oven spills regularly to avoid the need for frequent cleanings.
Never place aluminum foil on an oven bottom. It may block vents and impair air circulation, reducing oven temperature as much as 50 degrees F.
Microwave cooking is much more energy efficient than conventional cooking.
Washer and Dryer
When possible wait till you have a full load to wash, but don't overload the machine. For smaller loads use the low water setting if your machine has this feature.
Use only as much detergent as recommended on the box. Excessive suds hamper effective washing and often require extra rinsing.
The cost of running your washing machine depends largely on the amount of hot water used. Very few clothes require a "hot wash warm rinse" cycle. Instead use a "warm wash cold rinse" cycle. A cold rinse will not affect the cleaning results. For even bigger energy savings use a "cold wash cold rinse" cycle with a special cold water detergent.
Pre-soak heavily soiled clothing or use the washing machines soak cycle to avoid second washes.
Overdrying wastes energy, sets wrinkles, and causes clothes to wear out more quickly. If your dryer has an automatic dry cycle use it to prevent overdrying.
Keep the Lint Trap Clean
Remove lint from the trap after each load. A dirty lint trap impedes the flow of air in the dryer so it takes longer and uses more energy to dry your laundry.
Generally, dryers should be vented to the outside to avoid putting excess moisture into your apartment. However, if you have a dry apartment and an electric dryer, you may be able to vent the dryer into your apartment during winter. This will help heat the apartment and add moisture. Cover the vent with a nylon stocking or buy an indoor dryer vent kit to prevent lint from escaping into your living area.
CAUTION: Never vent a gas dryer into your apartment since harmful combustion products are frequently released through the same vent as the hot air from the dryer.
Separate Clothes by Weight
Separate loads into heavy and lightweight items since the lighter ones take less drying time.
Dry Consecutive Loads
Drying your clothes in consecutive loads saves the energy required to warm the dryer up to the desired temperature.
Wait until you have a full load before you use your dishwasher but be careful not to overload it.
Some dishwasher models have an automatic air dry or overnight dry switch. If yours doesn't, turn off the control knob after the final rinse then open the door and let the dishes dry by themselves. This can save you up to 10 percent of your total dishwashing energy costs.
Scrape, Don't Rinse
Instead or rinsing your dishes in hot water before loading them into the dishwasher, scrape them with a sponge or spatula.
Rinse Hold Setting
Don't use the rinse hold setting on your machine. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.
Rinse your dishes in a dishpan of clean rinse water instead of under hot running water.
An iron heats up much faster than it cools, so it saves money to begin by ironing low temperature fabrics first then working up to those that require the highest temperature. Turn off the iron about five minutes before you complete your ironing and use the heat retained in the plate to finish the job.
There are a number of ways you can reduce your ironing load. By promptly removing laundry from the dryer and either hanging it up or carefully folding it up you can reduce or eliminate the need for ironing. Hang clothes in the bathroom when you're bathing or showering. The steam will often remove wrinkles for you. Buy permanent press fabrics and garments.
Towel and air dry your hair whenever possible. Running an electric hair dryer for 10 minutes uses the same amount of energy as burning a 60 watt light bulb for three hours.
Instant-on TV sets use energy even when the screen is dark. This type of set often has a "vacation switch" feature. If not plug your set into a switched socket or have your TV repair man install an additional on-off switch in the cord or in the set itself.