Energy Tips & Information

Energy saving tips

In general:

  • Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
  • By performing simple tasks such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, taking shorter showers, opening the windows at night or even planting a tree you can save up to 25% of your home’s energy consumption in the summer.
  • “Phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 25% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. You can avoid this by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip. To cut all power to the appliance, use the switch on the power strip.
  • Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than throwaway batteries. If you must use throwaways, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.
  • Take steps to cut water use such as installing faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and low-flush toilets. As much as 19% of California electricity is used to pump, transport and treat water.

On your computer:

  • Screen savers are not energy savers. Using a screen saver may use more energy than not using one, and the power-down feature may not work if you have a screen saver activated. In fact, modern color monitors don’t need screen savers at all.
  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade, they use up to 90% less energy than larger desktop models.
  • ENERGY STAR® computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated, so make sure power management is activated on your computer.
  • Turn off your personal computer when you’re away from your PC for 20 minutes or more. Shut down both the CPU and the monitor if you will be away for two hours or more.

With appliances:

  • Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment – they’re up to 40% more efficient.
  • Saving energy starts with being an informed consumer. Estimate an appliance’s annual energy cost using this guide.
  • Replace and recycle your old refrigerator and purchase energy-efficient models. Units only 10 years old can use twice as much electricity as new labeled models.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.
  • When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy use in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer’s outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

With lighting:

  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and save 75% of lighting costs. A CFL consumes 66% less energy than a regular incandescent light bulb.
  • CFLs have a life span that is 10 times longer than regular bulb.
  • Use desktop lamps with CFLs instead of overhead lights.
  • Turn off the lights in any room you’re not using.
  • By replacing just two incandescent light bulbs with CFLs you can save an average of $39.00 in the life span of your CFL.
  • By replacing four standard bulbs with CFLs, you can prevent the emission of 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and reduce your electricity bill by more than $100 over the lives of those bulbs.
  • By replacing your old light bulbs with a CFL you will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in California’s air which can in turn reduce global warming.
  • If every California household replaced five incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, it would reduce enough CO2 — the greenhouse gas that causes global warming — to be the equivalent of taking more than 400,000 cars off the road.
  • Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture. Outdoor lights that are left on all night can add unnecessary waste energy and disturb wildlife. These devices will keep areas well lit when you need them to be while reducing your energy bill.

When heating and cooling your home:

  • Reduce air conditioning costs by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut and closing shades during the day.
  • Don’t place lamps or televisions near your air conditioner’s thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Set your air conditioner’s thermostat as high as is comfortably possible in the summer. The least amount of difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Don’t set your thermostat at a cooler setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner; it will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
  • A 5° higher setting on your air conditioning thermostat will save about 10% on cooling costs.
  • By resetting your programmable thermostat from 72 degrees to 65 degrees for eight hours a day (for instance, while no one is home or while everyone is in bed) you can cut your heating bill by up to 10%.
  • During warm weather, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
  • Installing shades, awnings or sunscreens on windows to block summer light and reduces heat in room. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.

For more tips like these, visit the following Web sites:

Flex Your Power
U.S. Department of Energy
Green IQ
Sierra Club
PG&E Energy Efficiency Classes

PG&E offers Energy Efficiency Classes sponsored by the Pacific Energy Center and the Energy Training Center. Most classes are free of charge; however, registration is required. PG&E asks that you limit your registrations to fewer than 10 classes that you are certain you will attend.


For further information on PG&E Energy Efficiency Classes by:

Market Sector
Primary Topic
Please visit

PG&E rebate information

Save Money. Save Energy. Help Save the Environment.

PG&E is making it easier to turn your home into a Smart Home, one that’s more energy efficient and more environmentally responsible. Just look at the categories below to see if PG&E has rebates for the home improvements you’remaking. You’ll be on your way to saving money and saving energy, while keepingthousands of pounds of CO2 greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere now, and foryears to come. How smart is that?

Search by:

Small Home
Small Business
PG&E Business Partners
PG&E features products within the following sections to make your life a SmartLife:

Heating & Cooling
General Improvements
For more information on PG&E rebates, please visit


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