Maybe you’ve switched to clean electricity with solar panels or a clean power plan. Or maybe you weren’t able to take that step for some reason.

Now what?

Now’s the time to get efficient! You can save energy and money just by increasing your home’s efficiency.

At MyDomino, we’re big fans of clean energy. But we know that going solar or switching to a clean power plan is just the first step. You’ll want to get the most out of your clean electricity so you can maximize your savings.

Plus, you may not be able to switch everything in your home to clean electricity all at once. Maybe you still have a gas heater, for example. The good news is that even without powering your entire home on clean energy, you can boost your savings and environmental impact.

A few simple actions will get you there. Here’s how to do it.

Switch to LEDs

LEDs

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about LEDs. What’s all the buzz about?

Why LEDs?

In a nutshell: LEDs last longer than traditional light bulbs, they’re much more efficient — and they’ll save you a bundle over time.

LEDs, or “light-emitting diodes,” are semiconductors that produce light when an electric current passes through them. Originally invented by GE in 1962, for a long time they were mainly used in alarm clocks, traffic lights, and cell phones. LEDs only recently became ready for prime time as lighting for your home.

Now, LEDs have overtaken other bulbs. CFLs and incandescents come with major disadvantages, so LEDs have them beat in many ways. We like to think of their main benefits as the 3 C’s: cost, climate impact, and convenience:

  • You may think LEDs are too expensive. But their cost has plummeted recently, and they’ll even save you money over time.
  • LEDs emit half as much carbon dioxide as CFLs, and only a tenth as much as incandescents. LEDs use a lot less electricity, too — 90% less than incandescents!
  • Enjoy climbing around on ladders in the dark? Then you shouldn’t switch to LEDs. They last over 20 years, so you won’t be bringing out your ladders as much.

The best thing is, you get all this without sacrificing quality. Today’s LEDs rival the best lighting from traditional incandescent bulbs. And many of them come with extra features, too.

How to pick your LEDs

Where do you start with LEDs? It’s easy to change a light bulb!

The main things you need to consider are the brightness you want for your lighting, the feeling or quality of light you’re going for, and the types of fixtures in your home. MyDomino concierge Laura Osburn explains it all clearly in this blog post.

Most light bulbs are easy to switch. For the 20% or so of your bulbs that may not be standard, we have this handy guide to help you pick the right LED replacements. Your MyDomino energy savings concierge can also give you expert advice on LEDs.

How much you’ll save with LEDs

You’ll be surprised how much these little bulbs will save you. If you’re like most Americans, switching all the bulbs in your home will save you about $300 a year. Because the bulbs last so long, you’ll save more than $6000 over their 20-year lifespan.

What’s more, you’ll be part of a big MyDomino Effect. If just 63 people replace all the bulbs in their homes, that’s like taking 25 cars off the road for an entire year.

Learn more about LEDs:

Upgrade to a smart thermostat

which smart thermostat

Heating is the largest home energy bill for most Americans, accounting for up to 50% of your power bill. A smart thermostat can help you control that cost.

What’s so smart about a smart thermostat?

You may already have a programmable thermostat. So, what makes a smart thermostat better?

A smart thermostat is like a programmable thermostat on steroids. It’s smart because it learns your preferences and adjusts your home temperature to your lifestyle. When you’re away or asleep, it can automatically lower your heating or air conditioning. It can also take into account factors like humidity to adjust its settings. And you can even control a smart thermostat remotely when you’re not home.

Most people don’t make full use of their programmable thermostats. So why not let a smart thermostat do the work for you?

How to pick a smart thermostat

If you’re convinced a smart thermostat is the way to go, you may be wondering how to pick the best one for your home.

Our Product Analyst has done extensive research and testing of smart thermostats — so you don’t have to! Based on that, we recommend two smart thermostats: the Nest and the Ecobee.

They’re both excellent choices, but this guide will help you see which one is right for your situation. If you still have questions, contact a MyDomino energy savings concierge. Your concierge will help you sort through your options.

How much you’ll save with a smart thermostat

Your smart thermostat savings depend on your specific situation. But studies have shown that most people can save about 10 – 12% on their heating bill and 15% on their cooling bill with a smart thermostat — or around $130$150 a year. That means the Nest, for example, can pay for itself in two years or less.

The story doesn’t end with savings. You’ll also get the added comfort and convenience that a smart thermostat brings. It’s a great way to get efficient!

Learn more about smart thermostats:

Take it all the way with smart power strips

get efficient

You may have heard a lot recently about the “smart home.” While most of us aren’t ready to fully automate our homes, there’s one small thing we can all do to make our energy use a bit smarter: use smart power strips.

What’s the advantage of smart power strips?

The best reason to use smart power strips is that most of us are losing money and energy to “vampire power” — the power your appliances and devices draw when they’re off, or in standby or sleep mode.

You may think that’s a small amount of power, but it adds up. In California, for example, vampire power accounts for nearly 23% of household electricity consumption. The total price tag of this always-on energy for all American households comes to a whopping $19 billion a year.

That’s a good reason to cluster your appliances and electronics with smart power strips — and vanquish that vampire power.

How to pick your smart power strips

So, where do you start with smart power strips?

The first step is to decide which type of smart power strip will suit your needs:

  • Remote-switch power strips have one or two “always on” plugs for devices you want to ensure stay on, and some “easy off” plugs for other devices.
  • Master-controlled power strips have several “always on” plugs, plus a “control plug” that senses when more energy is being pulled from a device.
  • Timer power strips turn on and off based on the time you set them to.
  • Masterless power strips detect when power is being called for, and power down when they’re not needed.
  • Smart strips or plugs, connected to wifi, let you control your power usage from your smartphone.

Master-controlled smart power strips are a good choice for most people’s needs.

MyDomino concierge Laura Osburn gives a great rundown of all these options, with recommendations for each, in this blog post. For tips on how to best use your smart power strips, see this post by concierge Michaela Nye.

If you have questions about the best way to use smart power strips, contact a MyDomino energy savings concierge for advice and ideas.

How much you’ll save

A few minutes of clustering your appliances will save you $100 a year or more. Depending on your specific situation, you may even save over $400 a year.

Here’s a short list of how much some of your appliances and devices could be costing you each year in vampire power:

  • Water recirculation pump: $93
  • Cable box with DVR: $47
  • TV: $38
  • Cable set-top box: $30
  • Desktop computer in sleep mode: $23
  • Audio receiver/stereo: $22
  • Laptop in sleep mode: $17
  • Printer: $11
  • Furnace: $8
  • Coffee maker: $6
  • Dryer: $4
Learn more about smart power strips:

Wondering where to start?

get efficient

Now you have the rundown on LEDs, smart thermostats, and smart power strips. This might seem like a lot of information. But these are all simple actions that are easy to take — and the savings and convenience you’ll get are well worth the small effort.

You may be so excited that you want to make all of these upgrades. Or you may want to take one small step at a time. The actions you choose are individual decisions that depend on your situation.

If you’d like some guidance and advice on these and other clean energy actions, contact a MyDomino energy savings concierge. Your concierge will help you get going on your path to 100% clean energy — in the way that makes sense for you.