The key to reducing annual energy bills is not just thinking about all the possible energy conservation measures you can adopt, but actually getting down to work. This section includes energy conservation projects for do-it-yourselfers that can reduce your energy bills up to 70 percent.

Skills Required

For each conservation measure described in this site, the relative skill level needed by the do-it-yourselfer is indicated. The main categories used are:

  • Simple handiwork – competent using basic hand tools, such as a hammer, screwdriver, utility knife, tape rule, putty knife, and handsaw.
  • Basic carpentry – comfortable working with both hand tools and power tools, such as a circular saw, electric drill, reciprocating saw, and saber saw.
  • Skilled carpentry – proficient with hand tools and power tools. Able to make difficult angled cuts and do finished carpentry. Knowledgeable about most elements of residential construction.
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    use low-flow showerheads

    Switching to a low-flow showerhead can save you up to 30% on hot water costs. Plus, you don’t need to be a plumber to make this improvement yourself.

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    install insulating jacket on water heater

    You can save up to 9% on your water-heating costs just by placing an “insulation jacket” around your water heater. This money-saving job can be done in under an hour.

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    connect programmable thermostat

    When no one is home, there’s no reason to keep the room temperature cool or warm. A programmable thermostat can more efficiently (and conveniently) regulate your home’s temperature.

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    build fireplace covers

    A chimney is just a big hole that allows air into your house. Keeping your fireplace closed with a glass door or damper will help keep your house nice and tight.

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    install radiant barrier in attic

    Research has shown radiant heat barriers can reduce annual cooling bills around 10% if the attic has less than R-30 insulation. Remember, radiant barriers are never a substitute for good insulation!

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    apply reflective window film

    For a relatively small cost, you can reduce energy waste by applying reflective window film on windows that receive a great deal of sunlight.

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    use awnings and/or interior roller blinds

    Installing (and using) awnings and window blinds on windows facing east and/or west can reduce the impact of direct sunlight on your home’s energy efficiency.

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    build exterior solar shade screens

    According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, preventing the sun’s heat from passing through windows and sliding glass doors is 7 times more effective than using interior blinds and curtains. Exterior solar shades can save you a great deal of energy and money.

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    install ceiling fans and whole house fans

    Contrary to common belief, ceiling and house fans cannot lower your home’s temperature. But they can definitely make you feel cooler, so you can set your thermostat higher and save energy.

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    install movable insulation

    Even well-sealed windows can be further insulated. Install movable insulation for even greater efficiency and energy-cost savings!

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    weatherstrip leaky windows and doors

    Reducing airflow in the house begins with tight windows and doors. Using weatherstripping to seal leaky windows and drafty doors can lead to significant savings.

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    caulk window and door frames

    A tube of durable caulk is an inexpensive resource that seals drafty windows, doors, and even cracks around your chimney. A little caulk can save a lot of money.

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    install gaskets on electrical outlets

    You can reduce energy costs by up to 2% just by installing gaskets on your electrical outlets. NOTE: This task can be extremely dangerous as you will be working around 120-volt electricity.

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    repair and reglaze windows

    Controlling the airflow in your house is important to maintaining your home’s energy efficiency. Repairing window cracks and reglazing panes are easy ways to Tighten Up.

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    seal holes, cracks, and penetrations

    Any place air can flow into your house is a waste that can likely be remedied with a simple repair. Identify all holes, seals and penetrations in your house and seal them!