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Sep 082010

From Green Right Now Reports

Americans are committed to boosting their home’s energy efficiencies. A Consumer Reports survey shows that 44 percent have purchased an Energy Star appliance, while 23 percent have upgraded to a more energy-efficient heating or cooling system.

The overwhelming reason Americans are taking action is to lower energy costs (77 percent). But only a third (36 percent) are upgrading to take advantage of a rebate or credit. Consumer Reports has identified seven simple steps that consumers can take to save on energy costs:

Jettison the lead foot — Obeying speed limits and avoiding hard acceleration and breaking will add several mpg to the fuel efficiency of a midsized car. Yearly savings – $200

Program the thermostat — Trim up to 20 percent from the heating and cooling bills by adjusting temperatures 5 to 10 degrees at night or when no one is home. Devices cost about $80 and some utilities offer rebates. Yearly savings – $200

Fix leaky ducts – Pay a heating and cooling pro to seal and insulate ducts that run through the home, especially in unconditioned spaces. Yearly savings – $400

Stop pre-rinsing – Washing dishes before putting them in the washer wastes up to 6,500 gallons of water per year. Consumer Reports tests show that it’s unnecessary. Yearly savings – $75

Adjust modes — Manufacturers often ship TVs in “retail mode” to ensure best quality, but the more efficient “home mode” is fine for most types of viewing. Yearly savings – $30 – $60

Tame hidden energy use – Between 5 and 10 percent of residential electricity goes to devices that draw power when they are off or in standby mode. Video games are a major offender. Turn them off when they are not in use. Yearly savings – $125

Wash in cold water – Tide 2X Ultra for Cold Water for traditional washers ranked best in Consumer Reports testing in removing grass, wine, and other tough stains. Yearly savings – $60