Households in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin spent an average of just over 2000 dollars on energy in 2009. But what do we use that energy for? Not surprisingly, some of our energy consumption is tied to local weather conditions: 52 percent goes towards space heating, while just two percent goes towards air conditioning. The rest is used to power appliances, electronics and lighting (30 percent), and to heat water (16 percent).
- Let the light in. Allow sunlight to heat your home naturally by opening curtains and blinds on south and west facing windows during the day. Close window coverings at night to keep heat inside.
- Adjust the temp. Turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees while you are sleeping or away from home can save up to 10 percent per year on energy costs. Invest in a programmable thermostat to make it easy.
- Use hot water wisely. Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees, which is hot enough for most uses. Fix leaks and invest in low-flow faucets and shower heads to use hot water efficiently.
- Power down. Save up to $100 per year by plugging electronic devices into a power strip and turning it off when not in use.
- Lighten up. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs.
(Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey. State Fact Sheets, http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/2009/state_briefs/ and 2009 RECS Survey Data, http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/; U.S. Department of Energy, “Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips,” http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips and “Tips: Water Heating,” http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-water-heating)