"Talking Dirty News" - Queen of Green, Barbara Loraine

Save Energy

Save Money & The Environment

by Barbara Loraine

  • 39154892Turn off the lights when not needed.
  • Use fewer lights.
  • Cut 80% energy use – Switch to CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights) or LED’s (light emitting diodes)
  • Open blinds or curtains to let in natural light.
  • Install a programmable thermostat, so you don’t forget to turn heating and air off or down at night or when you’re away.  Need an installer?
  • Get home heating information – Big Money Savings
  • Get home cooling tips – Big Money Savings


  • 60506909.thbIf your fridge is more than 10 years old, you can save a bundle by getting an Energy Star model.
  • Freezer on bottom is better for energy efficiency
  • Consider whether you really need that extra refrigerator or freezer.
  • Check seals on fridge and freezer doors.  Close a piece of paper in the refrigerator door, if you can pull it out easily, you need to replace the seal.
  • Vacuum coils at the bottom of the fridge twice a year.
  • Do NOT stand staring into the fridge or freezer, it lets cold air escape.
  • Keep fridge and freezer full; dead space takes more energy.  Fill empty space with water bottles.
  • Wait for hot food to cool before placing in fridge or freezer.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator. They add their cooling to other items – and this is best for health safety, anyway.


  • 37735014.thbTurn rinse cycle to cold, dishes will already be cleaned and sanitized during wash.
  • Skip the dry cycle.  Open the door and let dishes air dry.
  • Use a shorter wash cycle.
  • Only wash full loads.  For small households, get more dishes to make this possible.
  • Consider rinsing first, if your dishwasher takes extra energy to clean without rinsing.  (See water-saving tips, so you conserve while you rinse.)
  • Maintain your machine and avoid residue-creating products.  (Use TLC Clean for Dishwasher)


  • 30898458.thbWash only full loads;
  • In top loaders, arrange laundry evenly, so it doesn’t throw off balance of machine.
  • Wash less often.  Wear clothes longer.
  • Use cold water.
  • Handwash fine washables
  • Buy an energy-effiient, front-loading washer (saves 50% of water)
  • Keep your machine level, get a vibration pad if necessary
  • Avoid products that create residue, which gunks up the machine.  (Use TLC Clean for Laundry)


  • 30455973.thbEmpty the lint filter after each load.
  • Skip fabric softener, they gunk up the machine and chemical fragrances are usually toxic.
  • Do NOT overload the dryer, which reduces it’s efficiency.
  • Dry lighter fabrics together or remove them earlier than other items.
  • Line dry whenever possible.
  • Dry loads one after the other.  The machine stays hot, use that for the next load.


  • 34674245.thbIf possible, turn off electronics when not in use, or at the end of the day.
  • If you can’t turn them off, put them in sleep mode to reduce energy use.
  • Turn off printers and other equipment until you need to use it.
  • Check for energy-saving settings – and use them.
  • Use power strips to avoid “phantom power” waste.  Most appliances and electronics draw power when they are plugged in at the wall.  Use a power strip; turn it off when not in use, and save.
  • Plug games and other infrequently used electronics to the power strip.
  • Unplug chargers, they continue to draw energy even when they are not charging.
  • Charge your cell phone during the day; it only takes a few hours, not all night.
  • Consider whether you use the clock on your appliance.  If not, plus it in to a power strip
  • A TV usually needs to be kept on to avoid reprogramming, but can you turn off speakers and other accessories?


  • images-1Set your water heater to low or no more than 120 degrees.
  • Insulate the tank with a water heater blanket.
  • Insulate pipes with wraps.
  • Buy a tankless or solar water heater; these use no energy.
  • Do regular maintenance to ensure efficient operation.



  • 83897644.thbPreheat only when baking breads, pastries and other items that require precise timing.
  • When you are going to use the oven, see what more you can bake.  i.e. Potatoes or garlic.
  • When you bake, place items on the top shelf; reduce cooking time by 20%.
  • Check the oven seal.
  • When timing is not crucial, turn the oven off early; food will continue cooking.
  • Use the oven light to check for doneness, rather than opening the oven and letting heat escape.
  • Use a slow cooker to use less energy.
  • Use pots and pans that have layers (or other method) for cooking many items at once.
  • Compare electricity versus gas cost when you consider using small electric appliances.
  • Buy a convection or toaster oven, as an alternative to using the full oven.
  • Consider buying an electric pot for heating water.
  • Use a timer whcn you cook.  i.e. Don’t over boil water, eggs, or other foods.
  • Don’t use more water than you need to cook potatoes, eggs, etc.
  • Consider buying a solar oven.


  • 39160193.thbIrons heat up quickly, turn it on right before use. Or hang clothes after drying to avoid ironing.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use timers that turn off lights and appliances automatically.
  • If you watch TV in bed at night, set your TV to turn off at a certain time.
  • Check how long it takes to heat up curling irons & hot rollers.  Set a timer lets you know when they are ready.