Simple Steps to Saving Energy and Money

Regular readers of our blog may remember that I work as the energy manager for our municipality.  Recently I was at a reception in honor of our municipality receiving an award for our Go Green program. and I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with the wife of our Mayor.  She asked me:

What is it that you do in your home to save energy and money that I’m probably not doing?

That got me to thinking.  What AM I doing that others could do easily?  What is the best response to a question like this?  Here are some good answers:

  • Lighting – We replaced all of our incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and now we are slowly swapping them out for LEDs.

    energy star programmable thermostat set to 67

    Energy Star Programmable Thermostat

  • Programmable thermostat – We installed and programmed two thermostats years ago.  As our family has changed we have re-assessed where we set the thermostats.  Now we tend to have it set back during the days, when family members are cold, first they put on sweaters and sweatshirts, and then, only if needed, we turn the heat up.
  • Energy Vampires – We looked critically at what was plugged in, why and when to cut down on the energy vampires in our home.
  • Home energy assessment and air sealing – In Massachusetts we have a great program mandated by the state where utility companies collect an energy efficiency charge and then provide free home energy assessment and air sealing services to residents.  This program is called MassSave and I highly recommend it.  Regardless of where you live, having a professional or someone experienced with building science look at your home is a good idea.
  • Insulation – We had our home insulated.  The cost before any rebates and incentives was about $4,000  and after rebates and tax incentives, it cost us $500.  We cut our home heating bill almost in half.
  • Young girl applying air sealing film to a window

    Putting film on a window is so easy, the kids can help!

    Windows – We use things like storm windows and plastic film to cut down on drafts.  Replacing windows is very expensive and not cost effective.

  • Driving – We pay attention to how we drive in order to save fuel.

We also do things to save money and lessen our impact on the environment through products and chemicals we bring into the house

  • Fabric Softener – I use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener
  • Gardening – I have a garden and I include my children in everything from planning to maintenance to harvesting
  • Composting – We compost vegetable food scraps, dryer lint, coffee grinds and plants to make our own soil enhancement and cut down on our waste going to landfills.
baby getting a cloth diaper on

Cloth diapers are cute too!

Happy Greening,



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  1. We need to finish re-insulating our 2nd floor. Unfortunately it’s a big project because we have to replace the walls, too. Maybe dh will be up for it this summer?

  2. Great tips. It’s nice to compare things we’re doing with what others are doing on this same energy saving path. We still rent our home unfortunately so there are several things we can’t do to the physical house, but we are certainly in training mode for the next generation!

  3. or flat diapers are very eccnmoioal and offer good absorbency with a lot of flexibility. That is why they are still my top-selling diaper package. You can get 24 diapers and 4 covers in my prefold deal for under $100. Thirsties and Bummis covers both work great, as do other brands I carry. With prefolds it is also very easy to add a hemp insert or other diaper doubler for extra absorbency.With twins, you are going to be doing a lot of diaper changes, so you might consider a more convenient option that still saves a lot of money. We like the Kissaluvs hybrid contour since it is a one size and doesn’t require any fancy folding to get it on the baby. They fit well under Kissaluvs one size diaper covers or Thirsties covers. It is also a good idea to have at least a few pocket diapers or all in ones for the diaper bag.Once you get used to cloth diapering you’ll find it is very convenient and easy to do. My little girl is almost 2 and we have cloth diapered from when she was still in the hospital at birth. We love that we never have to buy new diapers, we never run out of diapers (just run a quick wash load) and that they actually leak LESS often than when we have tried disposables.

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