Looking for some ways to save energy this summer? Here are some tips to help you keep control of your electric bill whether you already have solar or are considering installing solar on your home.

  • Be cool about air conditioning – Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher. Changing your A/C thermostat from 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit can save you up to 12% of your cooling costs.
  • Be a Fan of Fans – Use a portable or ceiling fan to circulate air at a cost of 3 cents per hour when you can comfortably do so. Consider that A/C can cost upwards of $1.60 per hour!
  • A ‘Whole-istic’ ApproachWhole house fans are wonderful energy saving devices that keep your home cool at night and can also ‘pre-cool’ your home in the morning to reduce A/C dependence.
  • Unplug & Play – You can save up to $300 per year by using power strips to power off DVRs, a/v equipment, game consoles, etc that draw power even when switch off at the device.
  • Keep it Fresh – Regularly clean or replace A/C and heating filters to allow those devices to operate efficiently. Annual tune-ups can also pay dividends here.
  • Don’t get Drafted – Weatherstripping and caulking isn’t just a cold weather consideration. Keeping air conditioned air in your home can lower cooling costs by 5%. Duct sealing will save even more.
  • Pool Pump Punt – Punt that decade old pool pump to the recycling yard. Variable speed pool pumps can save you $500 per year. Utility rebates can lower you upfront cost by hundreds of dollars.
  • Pull the Blinds – Blocking direct sunlight will keep your home cooler, longer and allow you to put off A/C usage until late afternoon thereby saving hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Become an Energy Star – Energy efficient products can save you a fortune over time and with available utility rebates, energy star appliances have very attractive ROIs. Energy Star = Energy Savings.
  • Get out of Hot Water – Set your water-heater thermostat to 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees. This little change could pocket you another $80/year – more if you have an electric water heater.
  • LED Swap Out – LEDs are not only the lowest hanging energy saving fruit, they also run significantly cooler than traditional light bulbs and therefore won’t work against your A/C by heating your home up. Truly a double whammy worth hundreds of dollars per year!

These energy saving tips could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year for a relatively low upfront investment and have the quickest ROIs of all the energy saving options out there. Many are subsidized with utility rebates that can dramatically lower your out of pocket costs. These tips should be completed before looking at more costly options such as solar panels, dual pane windows, or blow-in insulation. If you are considering a solar system for your home, you need to start with an energy saving plan.

An understanding of how you use energy and a plan to take control of and reduce that usage can, in the most extreme examples, trim tens of thousands of dollars off a home solar system. I used many of these same energy saving tips to trim $19,000 off my own solar system and got the utility to pay for it! For example, if you can reduce the size of the solar system needed to power your home from 7KW to 5KW and your solar system costs $5/watt, you’ve just saved $10,000! How much energy efficiency would that pay for? Probably everything on this list and then some!

To become a more educated solar consumer, please take advantage of these additional resources:

Other Resources

While there can be many other considerations when evaluating home solar, those are the biggies. To learn more about solar, visit these other informative resources: