Saving Electricity home As seen in Newsweek, Forbes, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, CNET, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and everywhere else. About  
Rebates & Tax Credits
for U.S. consumers

Incentives for installing insulation and for buying energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners are often available from local and state governments and utilities. You can see what's available at DSIRE,, and Energy Star.

Related sites:

Home Power Magazine. All about renewable energy for the home.

No-Impact Man. Blog about a family striving to have no net impact. (i.e., What little they use, they offset.) Inspirational.

Off-Grid. News and resources about living without being connected to a utility company.

Mr. Electricity in the news:

"Michael Bluejay runs the outstanding Saving Electricity site that I've mentioned many times before." —J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly

Deep Green (book) by Jenny Nazak, 2018
Small Steps, Big Strides: Building Sustainability Habits at Home (book), Lucinda F. Brown, 2016
How much money you'll save with these common energy-saving strategies, Lifehacker, Sep. 28, 2015
Radio interview about saving electricity, Newstalk 1010 (Toronto), April 21, 2015
How much does your PC cost in electricity?, PC Mech, Nov 21, 2013
How Much Electricity Do Your Gadgets Really Use?, Forbes, Sep. 7, 2013
Can my bicycle power my toaster?, Grist, June 10, 2013
Six summer debt traps and how to avoid them, Main St, June 5, 2013
To convert to gas or electric?, Marketplace Radio (NPR), July 20, 2012
8 Simple Ways to Reduce Household Waste, Living Green Magazine, June 29, 2012
Why is my electric bill so high?, New York Daily News, Mar. 27, 2012
Fight the Power, CTV (Canada's largest private broadcaster), Mar. 23, 2012
How to Cut Your Electric Bill, Business Insider, Mar. 20, 2012
Tips to save energy when using your computer, WPLG Channel 10 (Miami, FL), Feb. 23, 2012
How long will it take an energy-efficient washer/dryer to pay for itself?, Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2011
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill, Forbes, August 23, 2011
18 ways to save on utility bills, AARP, July 9, 2011
How to Save $500 Worth of Energy This Summer, TIME magazine, June 28, 2011
Hot over the energy bill? Turn off the A/C, just chill, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2011
Cool Site of the Day, Kim Komando (syndicated radio host), May 29, 2011
This calculator shows how much you spend washing clothes, Lifehacker, May 6, 2011
What you pay when you're away, WCPO Channel 9 (Cincinatti), May 5, 2011
Spotting energy gluttons in your home, Chicago Tribune (CA), Apr. 7, 2011
Walnut Creek author has tips for livng a thrifty life, Contra Costa Times (CA), Jan. 24, 2011
Do space heaters save money and energy?, Mother Jones, Jan. 10, 2011
Energy steps to take for a less pricey winter, Reuters, Nov. 10, 2010
Should you shut down your computer or put it to sleep?, Mother Jones, Nov. 1, 2010
Energy saving tips for fall, Chicago Tribune & Seattle Times Nov. 7, 2010
10 ways to save money on your utility bill, Yahoo! Finance, Oct. 2, 2010
Mr. Electricity Ranks Refrigerators & Electrical Wasters, Green Building Elements, Sep. 8, 2010
The case against long-distance relationships, Slate, Sep. 3, 2010
10 household items that are bleeding you dry, Times Daily (Florence, AL), July 27, 2010
Cold, hard cash, Kansas City Star, June 22, 10
Stretch your dollar, not your budget, Globe and Mail, May 18, 2010
Auto abstinence, onearth magazine, Winter 2010
2010 Frugal Living Guide,
Energy-saving schemes yield €5.8m in savings, Times of Malta, Dec. 20, 09
Four ways to reduce your PC's carbon footprint, CNET, Dec 2, 09
The day I hit the brakes, onearth magazine, Fall 2009
How Much Do You Really Save By Air-Drying Your Clothes?, The Simple Dollar, 2010
Enjoy the mild weather, low electricity bills, Detroit Free Press, Jul 18, 09
The most energy-efficient way to heat a cup of water, Christian Science Monitor, Jun 16, 09
Ten ways to save energy, Times of Malta, Jan 3, 09
Measuring your green IT baseline, InfoWorld, Sep 4, 08
Bald Brothers Breakfast (MP3), ABC Adelaide, March 27, 2007
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
The Power Hungry Digital Lifestyle, PC Magazine, Sep 4, 07
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
Answers to all your electricity questions, Treehugger, Jul 11, 08 Going Green, Monsters and Critics, Jan 6, 2007
A hunt for energy hogs, Wall Street Journal Online, Dec 18, 06

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Miscellaneous Topics


Solar Power

How much would it cost to use solar panels to generate the 500kWh a month that I'm currently paying my electric company for?   Niccoli, Nov. 2003

[Update, Feb. 2007: I'm leaving the original answer from 2003 below, but readers should know that in the intervening years solar has finally become affordable.]

Solar panels are still too costly to be a competitive alternative to the grid in most cases. A 116-watt panel goes for about $500. Using the industry standard estimate of five hours a day of full sun, that's 580 watt-hours a day, or 17.4kWh a month. Since you need 500kWh a month, you'd need 29 of these panels. That would cost you nearly $15,000. What you'd save would be about $40/mo. or $480/yr, if you were paying the national average of $0.08/kWh for 500kWh a month.

If we had only the cost of the panels alone, it would take 31 years to recoup your investment, but there are two other problems: First, solar panels are only expected to last around 20 years. Second, we haven't included the costs of storage batteries, an inverter, installation, and maintenance.

But there are some things that could make solar more affordable. First, if you're in a state where electric costs are high (such as California), your system will pay for itself much sooner. Second, there's a good chance that energy prices for will surge by the end of the decade no matter where you live, and that could make solar cheaper when amortized over 15 years or so. Third, many governments (including the State of California) offer generous rebates and tax credits for installing a solar system, which can greatly decrease the cost. If you're interested in going solar, check out Solar Depot, e-Marine, or Gaiam.

Television Sets

Do large screen rear projection TVs consume more electricity than smaller regular ones? -- Susan Hunt-Wulcowicz, Oct. 2004

Why wouldn't you just look at the label on the back of the TV's in question (or check the specs if you're shopping online)? The back of my ancient 19" Samsung TV says 77 watts (though it measures out at 50 watts), and a Sony 51'' CRT projection TV that I found in 60 seconds on Google is listed as 260 watts. LCD and DLP projection TV's should use less -- again, just look an the label or check the specs if you're shopping online.

International Issues

I live in Australia and have bought an appliance from America that is 250 volts. In Australia we use maximum 240 volts. Can I still use the device without adjusting the voltage or will the extra 10 volts problems? The device is the power cord for an Microsoft Xbox and unfortunately their was no manual with it. -- Brett Hogan, Oct. 2004

A power cord is not a device, and it doesn't consume electricity. It simply carries electricity to a device. The 250V designation just means that it's got an international plug, not U.S.-style plug. Assuming that one end fits into the wall and another end fits into your XBox then it's the right cord. Now, whether your XBox is designed to work with Australian current, that I don't know. Check the label.

I note that in the US you have a 110-120 volt system whereas ours in Britain is 220-240 volts. Does this have any bearing on how much power identical appliances use in the two countries?  James de Beresford, Nov. 2002

Good question. Despite the difference voltage, energy use is the same. You use more volts, but you also use less amps, so it evens out. For example, in the U.S. a device might use 120 volts x 2 amps = 240 watts. In Britain, that same device would use 240 volts x 1 amp = 240 watts. So energy use is the same.

And of course, costs are the same, because you're charged by the kilowatt-hour, not by voltage. (Well, the costs won't be exactly the same, because there's a different price for electricity in Britain....)

I'm traveling outside the country. Do I need adapters to plug my appliances in there, and if so, what kind?

Hey buddy, this page is for questions about saving electricity. :) Anyway, this isn't my area of expertise, but I was able to dig up some good resources on the subject: