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Saving energy is a great way to focus on your finances

4/29/2019 11:14:18 AM

As Minnesota and the nation recognize April as Financial Capability Month, the Minnesota Department of Commerce would like to remind Minnesotans that one of the best ways to save money is by saving energy.

There are many basic no- and low-cost measures you can take to reduce energy use, cut your utility bills, and put more money in your pocket. Here are a few energy- and money-saving opportunities:

  • Use a programmable thermostat to reduce your heating and cooling costs.
  • Turn off computers and monitors when not in use.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips and turn the strips off when equipment is not in use.
  • Turn off lights and fans when nobody is in the room.
  • Close your fireplace damper when not in use.
  • Take short showers and use low-flow showerheads.
  • Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees F.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes, and air dry both when possible.
  • Replace incandescent lights with much more efficient lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new appliances, lighting, and electronics.
  • Have a home energy assessment to identify ways to make your home more energy efficient (weather-strip doors and windows, seal air leaks, add insulation, and more).
  • Go to work via carpool, use public transportation, or telecommute.

Simple behavior changes such as turning off lights, air drying clothes outdoors, and setting your hot water heater at 120 degrees don’t cost you anything. But applied together, they can shrink your utility bills and grow your bank account over time.

Long-term savings can be achieved when, for instance, you replace an old energy-hog refrigerator with a new high-efficiency model. The new refrigerator will likely pay for itself in 7-8 years via energy savings, and you will enjoy additional energy savings for the life of your appliance. Likewise, a properly installed and operated programmable thermostat will pay for itself in as little as one year with energy savings.

For more energy-saving tips, check out the Minnesota Department of Commerce Home Energy Guide or the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide.

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Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

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