Being green saves energy and money. In fact, at my house in Fort Meade, MD, we receive a rebate every month just for being conservative with our energy consumption. Additionally, my children are learning green practices and ensuring a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. It’s a win all around.

Energy conservation doesn’t require a lot of energy on your part. Here are some quick tips and tricks to help cut back your usage.

Free Fixes

No need to purchase anything to get started — make these quick tweaks and start saving now.

  • Create a breezeway. To cool without AC, don’t open all your windows — only open one at the front and one at the back for each story of your house. Place a fan in the middle to draw air through and create a cooling airflow. (I give credit to my German neighbor for showing me this trick when we were stationed there and had no AC for three years.)
  • Use fans creatively. Fans can be used for more than circulating air, they can also be pointed toward an open window on a hot day to blow air out, and can also be placed behind a bowl of ice for extra cooling.
  • Close doors/air vents in unused rooms. With both AC and heat, close off vents in rooms you aren’t using, and close those doors as well — no need to cool unused rooms. Additionally, this will pump more hot/cold air into the rooms you want temperature controlled.
  • Turn off lights when leaving a room. Get in the practice of turning lights off every time you leave a room (train the kids as well) and utilize natural light as much as possible.
  • Unplug chargers/devices when not in use. You may not know it, but chargers for tablets, phones, etc. still draw energy when plugged into the wall. When you are done charging your device, unplug the charger as well.
  • Only run loads when full. Washing machines and dishwashers are most efficient if you only run them when full. It will save water and electricity if you wait to start a load when you have plenty of items inside.
  • Use drying racks for clothes. Consider using drying racks for all or some of your laundry loads to cut back on the energy required for drying.
  • Adjust your water heater. Although some water manufacturers set their heaters to 140 degrees F, most households only require them to be set at 115 degrees F. This can save you up to 10% annually.
  • Use ideal thermostat settings. According to the Department of Energy, for maximum energy savings, the recommended thermostat settings are 68 degrees F in winter and 78 degrees F in summer.
  • Use window treatments to your advantage. Whether you have curtains or blinds, open them in the mornings of sunny rooms in the winter to warm the house, or leave them closed on hot days to block the rays.
  • Dress appropriately. It is much cheaper to wear a hat, socks or throw on a blanket while on the couch in winter than to warm the entire house.
  • Make your beverages work for you. If you’re cold, grab a mug of hot chocolate or coffee, or if hot, go for iced coffee, ice water, lemonade, etc. Again, it is easier and more energy efficient to warm/cool you than the house.
  • Use your slow cooker and oven strategically. In the heat of the summer, consider using your slow cooker instead of your oven to minimize additional heat in the house. A favorite winter trick? Use the self-cleaning oven setting periodically. It will warm up your house while getting you ready for your next PCS!

Low-Cost Fixes

If you are looking to spend a little time and money, these tools will help lower your costs and maximize savings.

  • Blackout curtains. Blackout curtains reduce light, noise and offer thermal benefits such as keeping out heat in the summer and keeping out cold in the winter.
  • Faucet aerators. Easily screwed on to your sink faucets, aerators introduce air into the water creating consistency in flow and pressure, reducing your family’s water usage.
  • Low-flow shower heads. Whereas a standard shower head releases 2.5 gallons a minute, its low-flow counterpart can offer 2 or fewer gallons per minute. Add that up with all the showers taken daily in your house, and your family can save thousands of gallons per year.
  • Efficient light bulbs. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways for your family to cut energy costs. According to the Department of Energy, replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR bulbs, you can save $75 each year.  

For more ideas, facts, and figures of how your military family can conserve energy, water, and money, please visit The Department of Energy’s Energy Saver website. Happy savings!




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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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