Virginia Tech™home

Energy Conservation

Entrance to VTES building

General Tips

  • Turn off lights, appliances, and electronics when they are not in use.
  • Unplug idle power adapters and cell-phone chargers.
    Install a programmable thermostat. You can save approximately 5 percent on your bill by setting the temperature back in the winter and turning it up in the summer.
  • Regularly change or clean filters in heating and cooling equipment.
  • Use fans.
  • Control sunlight through windows. In warmer weather, block the windows with curtains or shades to keep the interior cooler. In colder weather, let the sunlight in to help warm your home.
  • Perform basic weatherization. This includes repairing holes and cracks that let in drafts and weather-stripping or caulking around doors and windows. It also includes plugging leaks and fixing gaps in insulation on ducts and pipes.
  • Try washing most clothes in cold water. You may save up to $100 annually on water heating.
  • Don’t over dry clothes. Running a typical drier for 15 minutes less per load can save you up to $35 per year.
  • If you have an old refrigerator or other appliance that you barely use, unplug it. These can add up to 15 percent to your electric bill.

Lighting Tips

  • For outdoor lights, install motions sensors or timers to turn them off when not needed.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Energy Star labeled CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last six to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
  • Do not place lamps near a thermostat. The thermostat senses the heat produced from the lamp which can change how often your furnace or air conditioner will run.
  • Consider safer, more efficient Energy Star torchiere lamps over popular halogen torchiere lamps. The halogen lamps can cause fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. While relatively inexpensive to purchase, halogen lamps are expensive to operate.
  • Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.  

Cold Weather Tips

  • Seal windows with plastic and double sided tape and doors can be sealed with foam/felt strips, spray foam, or even a sock filled with rice.
  • When temperatures go below freezing, use a faucet cover or pipe covers to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Set your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower when you’re not home. 
  • Set your ceiling fan to turn clockwise. 
  • Open curtains during the day to let in natural heat, then close them at night to keep heat in. 
  • Replace dirty air filters in your heating system.
  • Put on an air conditioner cover during the winter to reduce drafts.
  • Wear slippers and light sweaters so you can lower the temperature a few degrees.
  • Cover up with a blanket when sitting still at home.

Warm Weather Tips

  • Set the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher for the most energy-efficient operation.
  • Install shaded window film to block extra sunlight and reduce air conditioning costs. 
  • Use your microwave or outdoor grill instead of a range or oven to reduce the amount of heat you produce indoors.
  • Use fans to move the air inside your home. This gives the sensation that it is five degrees cooler than the actual temperature.
  • Shade windows on the sunny side of your home. Keep drapes closed or add room-darkening shades to block out the heat from the sun.
  • Keep the outside portion of a central air conditioner clear from dried mud, debris and grass clippings. Check after an intense rain. Mud can splatter onto the unit and block the air after it dries.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but do not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
  • On hot summer days, avoid opening doors and windows in your home durin the afternoon. This allows cool air to escape and hot air to enter the home. Choose activities that are either indoors or outdoors and restrict activities that require many door openings to the mornings.
  • Shift energy-intensive tasks such as laundry and dishwashing to off-peak energy-demand hours to increase electricity reliability during heat waves.
  • Save jobs that produce moisture-such as mopping, laundry and dishwashing - for early morning or nighttime hours. The humidity from these activities can make homes uncomfortable.
  • Make sure the attic is properly ventilated to relieve excess summer heat.
  • Install a radiant barrier on the underside of your roof to reflect heat. A radiant barrier is simply a sheet of aluminum foil with a paper backing.