Molly Dietz

Apr 20 2016

Sustainable Savings: Easy Energy Conservation Tips

sustainable savings tips for financial literacy month
This is the third in a 5-part series on sustainable savings. Not only is April Financial Literacy Month, but we’re also reminded to protect the environment on April 22nd during Earth Day. In an effort to combine efforts of both financial literacy and environmental sustainability, I wanted to share tips on how to both save money and save the planet at the same time.

By making energy-efficient choices, you can save energy and money, regardless if you rent, own, or have roommates. Energy efficiency means doing the same thing while using less energy. Usually this is done by replacing older, less efficient appliances with new ones. But you don’t have to buy new Energy Star appliances to save the planet and save money. By making small changes in several different areas, you can reduce energy use and the impact on our environment, while you save on your utility bill. It’s a win-win!

  • Get compact fluorescent lights.
    Fluorescent light bulbs use about 1/3 of the electricity as a standard incandescent light bulb. Fluorescent light bulbs last longer and will pay for themselves, so you’ll get savings from both the light bulbs and energy used.
  • Defrost your freezer.
    Make defrosting your freezer a part of your spring cleaning routine. Frost and ice will build up making your freezer work harder to keep cold. A frost-free freezer will keep food fresher so you won’t have to throw out freezer burnt items.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat.
    You can set your thermostat to a comfortable setting when you’re home, but when you’re away, you can set it warmer or cooler depending on the season. This way you’re not only saving energy, but you can see significant monthly savings on your energy bill. Your savings will pay for your programmable thermostat in a matter of months.
  • Install motion lights outdoors.
    Save on lighting the outside of your home with motion detector lights which will reduce your energy bill. If you prefer, there are programmable light figures that could be set on a timer.
  • Change your air conditioning filter monthly.
    Dirty filters restrict airflow and cause your air conditioner to run longer and use more energy.
  • Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees and insulate it.
    The lower you can put your hot water heater, the more energy savings you’ll get. But make sure the temperature of the water doesn’t go lower than 120 degrees to prevent the growth of bacteria. Additionally, adding insulation to your water heater and exposed pipes will save energy thus reducing your energy bill.
  • Get a free energy audit from your utility company.
    It’s possible your energy company will provide you with a free energy audit to see how your home compares with other homes in energy efficiency.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
    This is simple, but one of the easiest to forget. When you leave a room, turn off the lights. You’ll save energy, the life of your lightbulb, and money!
  • Unplug appliances when not in use.
    Every time you leave a table-top appliance, phone or laptop charger, computer and printer, hair dryer, etc. plugged in, you’re drawing electricity from the outlet. Unplugging those will save electricity and reduce your energy bill.
  • Wash clothing in cold water.
    A great deal of the energy needed to wash clothes goes into just heating the water. So grab some cold water specific laundry detergent and turn the washing machine dial to ‘cold water’. Plus: washing clothes in cold water helps to preserve fabric colors.
  • Inspect your home and windows for air leaks.
    Heating and cooling your home takes a lot of energy, so make sure you’re not unnecessarily heating or cooling your home. Check for window leaks and gaps and seal them off. In the winter, take steps to winterize your home and windows so you don’t let heat escape. You’ll notice the savings in your energy bill.

There are a lot of other ways to conserve energy. Share your tips in the comments below.

Please visit our blog,, on Earth Day for part 4 of our 5-part series, “Sustainable Savings: How You Can Give Back on Earth Day.”

View the complete 5-Part Sustainable Savings Series:

Molly Dietz

About Molly Dietz

Molly Dietz is a Personal Banking Officer at the Hills Bank location on Muscatine Avenue in Iowa City. She has been with Hills Bank since 2003 helping customers with their banking needs. Molly is an active member of the City High School Alumni Association and is an avid Hawkeye sports fan. Molly can be reached at

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17 Responses to Sustainable Savings: Easy Energy Conservation Tips

  1. Very useful Tips. This is really good stuff

  2. Suzeth says:

    Great tips! All of these are really true! I just want to add, LED can save electricity, it has longer life span than conventional bulb. I am thinking to invest a programmable thermostat. Thanks for the help!

    • Molly Dietz Molly Dietz says:

      Yes, using LED bulbs is another great way to cut down on energy use. Thanks for sharing your tip on how you conserve electricity!

  3. Drew says:

    Great advice to invest in a programmable thermostat. It was the best thing I could have done for my house and my wallet. I noticed a difference in my bill almost immediately.

  4. Thank you for these excellent tips. Even though some of them are being practiced at home, I was able to know a lot more tips from this article. I will try implementing these tips asap. Thanks again!

  5. You can set your thermostat to a comfortable setting when you’re home, but when you’re away, you can set it warmer or cooler depending on the season. This way you’re not only saving energy, but you can see significant monthly savings on your energy bill.

  6. Drew says:

    I didn’t realize that defrosting your freezer would actually conserve energy. Good advice here.

  7. I love to ski and my favorite thing to do after a long ski trip is take a nice, long shower. Sometimes at the end of the day, however, there’s not enough hot water left. I loved how you mentioned that using cold water to wash clothes can help conserve energy and hot water. I think it would also help a lot if we had a professional come out and look at our plumbing and heating so that we can have hot water at any time of day.

  8. These are some really great tips, all of which combined can help really reduce energy usage and increase savings. The most common one I see, since we’re in the real estate niche, is air leaks around windows and doors, along with bad insulation.

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