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Reducing Electricity Use and Costs

An energy audit can help you find the most effective ways to save money and reduce energy use in your home. | Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL.

An energy audit can help you find the most effective ways to save money and reduce energy use in your home. | Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL.

Reducing energy use in your home saves you money, increases our energy security, and reduces the pollution that is emitted from non-renewable sources of energy. If you are planning to install a small renewable energy system to make your own electricity, such as a solar electric system or small wind turbine, reducing your electricity loads is the first step—saving you money by allowing you to purchase a smaller system.

There are many ways you can reduce electricity use in your home:

To improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, see home energy audits.

Time-Based Electricity Rates

To help reduce their peak power demands and save money, many utilities are introducing programs that encourage their customers to use electricity during off-peak hours. The programs pass on the savings to you, the customer, through rebates or reduced electricity rates.

Smart meters and home energy management systems allow customers to program how and when their home uses energy. Such programs might charge you the actual cost of power at any one time, ranging from high prices during times of peak demand to low prices during off-peak hours. If you are able to shift your power use to off-peak times -- such as running your dishwasher late in the evening -- these programs can save you money while helping your utility.

Time-based rates are very attractive to owners of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles since typically these vehicles are recharged at night. See buying and driving fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles for more information.