How Unplugging Your Appliances Can Let You Take a Vacation

Many of us have heard of the vampire effect, which is the effect of electrical devices sucking up energy for as long as they’re plugged in. This also applies to devices that are turned off or in a low power state. As long as the device is plugged into a functioning outlet, you’re wasting precious energy. In fact, about 75% of the total energy use for electronics and appliances comes from the time they are turned off and out of use. How much is that really costing you in a tangible sense, though?

Plasma TV – $150 per year

Window AC – $105 per year

Desktop Computer – $63 per year

Game Console – $25 per year

Microwave – $22 per year

Coffee Maker – $22 per year

Toaster Oven – $17 per year

Laptop Charger – $15 per year

Hairdryer – $15 per year

Portable Fan

more »

Fewer Steps, Bigger Savings: How MIT is Changing the Thermal Efficiency Game

Heating and cooling buildings accounts for 44% of our national energy use and about 20% of the national carbon emissions. This is one part of energy use that we have a hard time curbing, partly due to the sheer volume of underprepared buildings around the country. Older homes and offices were not built with heating and cooling standards we have today, and as a result are highly inefficient. Even buildings that were built to recent high standards will fall short over the years.

There are 82 different parameters to determine the thermal efficiency of a building, and to measure all of them requires specialized equipment and a fair amount of time on site. Marta Gonzalez and Franz-Josef Ulm, two professors at MIT, found a way to take just 8 of those parameters and utilize that information for improving this efficiency. As we mentioned, older buildings are going

more »

How Smart are Your Power Strips?

How advanced are your power strips? It’s not something you likely ask yourself on a regular basis, but not asking that question could be costing you an extra $200 every year. Whenever an appliance or electronic device is plugged in, it draws electricity, even if it is turned off.  This is known as the vampire load, and it could be sucking more money out of you than you think.

Power strips are a great way to consolidate several electronic devices into a single wall outlet by plugging all of them into a 6, 8, 10, or 12 port hub. But with each of those electronics drawing a small amount of power, combined with the rest of the plugged in devices in your house, you’re looking at a steep electric bill for things you may not even be using. Sure, some things like the fridge and AC need

more »

Boost Energy Efficiency with All-LED Home

If you’ve decided to do some major home upgrades by remodeling a room or two, one thing to consider doing along with it is increasing your home’s energy efficiency. Remodeling is a great time to make your house more energy efficient to take advantage of advancements in lighting, heating, and appliance technology. Even a home as young as 4 years old could potentially go from a $400 per month energy bill to just $60 per month, an 85% savings just by revamping energy usage.

One of the best ways to jumpstart your home energy savings is to install LED lighting through your home. It doesn’t even require remodeling to accomplish, but can really cut back on energy usage. LED bulbs have come a long way from their start, and now look indistinguishable from the old incandescents we’re used to seeing.

David Bailey, a senior scientist at Lawrence

more »

What to Do for a Home that Won’t Stay Cool in the Summer

Do you notice that your summer energy bills are abnormally high compared to neighbors? Do you feel like it’s always hot, no matter how long or low you run the AC? Does your AC freeze up frequently? If you answered yes to any of those, your home could be suffering from a lack of proper preparedness for the warm temperatures. But don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to keep your energy use down this season.

Energy Audit

The first, best thing you could do is conduct a professional energy audit. This will bring in a specialized team using specialized gear to look for areas of your home that are inefficiently using energy, particularly when it comes to air conditioning. They’ll find areas where outside or attic air are getting into your home, throwing off your cool temps. They’ll find inefficient electrical uses too, like refrigerators that need

more »

Increasing the Energy Efficiency of Home Windows

How can windows save you electricity and gas? Not really a question people think of very often, but it’s definitely worth considering. Having the right windows can actually save you a bundle of money all year long. But how do you know when to upgrade?

If your windows are more than a decade old, chances are they aren’t very efficient. If they’re more than two decades old, they definitely need improvement. Upgrading your windows from your current set to a new energy efficient set can save you up to 30% on your home energy bills, particularly with Energy Star certified windows, with a potential to save upwards of $1000 every year.

You may be wondering “What makes newer windows more efficient?” As windows age, the frame around them can crack and form small gaps. Through these gaps, conditioned air inside your home will leak out and unconditioned

more »

Top Smart Light Bulbs on the Market

Looking for an LED bulb that does more than light up your room? There are a lot of options out there for smart light bulbs that connect to Wi-Fi and open up a wide range of possibilities to you. Here’s a small list of possible options.

Philips Hue Color; $200 for starter kit, $60 per color changing bulb

Looking to set a mood in the man cave? Or perhaps adjust the living room lights to be more romantic? The Philips Hue Color bulb can change colors like its name implies, but it can also sync to movies and TV shows that you’re watching. Much like TV sets that have accent lighting on the rear, these bulbs can make movie watching much more immersive. Whether it’s an action movie with explosions lighting up the walls, or a passionate romance splashing some color, the experience is sure to be

more »

Efficiently Cooling Your Home

Your air conditioner accounts for about half of your home’s energy use in the summer, and reducing its load will lower your energy bills. There are several ways to reduce the load on your AC, and in most cases, it won’t cost you anything, leading to pure savings. 


Just like a car, your AC needs to be periodically tuned up to maximize its performance. You should have your HVAC system tuned by a licensed professional twice a year: once just before summer and once just before winter. You should also replace the vent filter every one to three months as needed. If the filter is clogged, the airflow to your HVAC system is reduced, and this results in the system running more often for longer periods.

Cooling As Needed

When you turn on the AC, don’t set the temperature below your preferred comfort level. If you’re

more »

4 Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Heat Buildup in Your Home

Get ready for the warm summer by prepping your home to keep cool. There are a few easy steps you can take that will reduce heat buildup in your home and keep it more comfortable, while also saving energy in the process.

Ceiling Fan

Most people don’t think about turning on their fan while the AC is running, but using it along with your AC can actually allow you to reduce the AC temperature by a few degrees without losing comfort. This happens through the wind-chill effect, where wind blowing on you makes you feel cooler. Keep in mind that if you leave a room that has a fan running, turn the fan off. Fans are only able to cool people, but not rooms. They may help circulate cooled air, but their energy use in an unoccupied room doesn’t benefit anyone.

Appliance Maintenance

Keeping your appliances in

more »

Last Minute Energy Savings Advice for Spring

Looking for a few quick, last minute tips to help you save money on your energy bill? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got some easy, inexpensive tips that will save you money all year long, but also give you a head start on savings heading into the warmer months ahead.

Water Heater

Turn down the temperature on your water heater from the factory default of 140°F to 120°F. You’ll still get plenty of hot water, but those 20 degrees will make a definite difference in your water heater’s runtime.

Insulate Water Lines

Use foam insulation tubes to cover and protect your hot water lines from the heater all the way to their respective destinations. By insulating the line, you’re keeping the water hot for a much longer period of time as it travels, reducing the amount of time the water has to run hot.

Insulate the Heater

more »