Are You Really Saving Power with Your Energy-Efficient Upgrades?

Energy-efficient appliances can’t do the job alone — you must reduce usage as well to save money.

If you’ve made a few green improvements to your home in the hopes that you’ll save money on energy bills, it’s possible your bills have stayed the same or even gone up instead. What gives?

Some experts theorize that the more energy-efficient our homes become, the more energy people will use. They call it the “energy rebound theory” — as our homes gain more electronic devices, the risk of increased energy consumption goes up, even when the electronics we add are labeled as energy-efficient.

It may sound obvious, but adding extra wall insulation and putting CFLs in every light fixture won’t do the job alone. If you want to see results on your energy bills, you have to make a conscious effort to reduce energy consumption at every opportunity.

For example, if you buy a new Energy Star-rated washing machine, you may feel the freedom to do more loads of laundry. But if you want to save money, you must resist the urge to binge on energy use and instead be prudent about how often you wash. The combination of doing fewer loads and using a more efficient machine will be reflected on your monthly bills.

Consider these solutions to get you started on conserving more energy:

  • Energy monitors help you keep track of power usage. If you can see what appliances in your home are sucking the most energy, you’ll be able to tell where you can cut back and save.
  • Don’t go it alone. Energy efficiency can be a fun project for the whole family — let your kids help you hunt for air leaks, add caulk and weather stripping, and review monthly bills.
  • Cutting back on your bills isn’t the only way to pad your wallet — check with your utility to see if your energy-efficient improvements qualify for a rebate.

Have your energy bills been on the rise, even though you’ve made green improvements to your home? What will you do about it?