Use Less Energy, Save More Money

During the summer months, energy bills can easily shoot up along with the temperature! We checked in with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for suggestions on how to keep your money from getting zapped by skyrocketing electricity costs.

Turn off your monitor if you won’t be using the computer for more than 20 minutes, and shut off both the monitor and CPU if you’re stepping away for more than two hours. Also, make sure the sleep mode feature is activated on your computer (even laptops); turns out screen savers don’t save energy and may actually keep the power down feature from working.

New Appliances
There are two types of labels to look out for when shopping for energy-efficient appliances. EnergyGuide labels are found on most appliances and provide an energy consumption estimate to make comparison between models a breeze. Energy Star labels appear on products that meet strict efficiency criteria created by the DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Air Conditioners
Look for a unit with an energy efficiency ratio of 10 or higher. Keep in mind the size of the room; a smaller unit running for a longer time will cool more evenly and might be more efficient than a bigger one that is constantly turned on and off. Keep lamps and other heat-producing equipment away from your AC’s thermostat, and pair an air conditioner with an interior fan to help circulate the cool air.

Incandescent light bulbs only use 10% to 15% of electricity drawn to produce light, turning the rest into heat, which means turning them off when they’re not needed can also keep cooling costs down. But you can do better: use long-lasting fluorescent bulbs in lamps that will be on for more than two hours a day, and shut them off when you leave the room. See the DOE’s website ( for even more info.

—Dorkys Ramos