Last year, President Obama declared October to be Energy Action Month, a time when Americans are encouraged to take steps to reduce their energy consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In this second October of focused energy strategy, agencies across the federal government are working to make their operations greener and more sustainable, helping the environment and reducing taxpayer energy costs.

Taken as a whole, the federal government is the United States’ largest energy consumer, spending more than $17 billion every year on energy for its vehicles, equipment and half-million facilities. That’s why the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has adopted the slogan, “Lead By Example” -- by reducing its own energy use, FEMP hopes to turn America’s biggest energy consumer into its greenest.

If you’re curious to know how the federal government is working to clean up its own act, you can read all about it in Creating an Energy Awareness Campaign: A Handbook for Federal Energy Managers. This guide offers an overview of the steps agencies can take to plan, implement and evaluate their energy conservation programs, and you just might pick up a few ideas you can implement in your own home.

Take Action

While it’s something of a top-down approach for FEMP to lead by example through federal agencies, all of us in the private sector can also benefit from specific recommendations that can help us use less energy. The Department of Energy is helping us in that area as well, with energy-saving checklists for facilities, offices and homes.

Here are just a few of the household energy conservation steps you can plan for during Energy Action Month:

Today

  • Turn down your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Schedule annual maintenance for your furnace or heat pump
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs
  • Turn off the lights in empty rooms
  • Use energy-saving settings on your computer

This Month

  • Insulate your hot water pipes
  • Insulate your heating ducts
  • Seal up air leaks in ducts, doors and windows
  • Schedule a household energy audit

This Year

  • Replace aging, inefficient appliances with Energy Star-certified models
  • Upgrade energy-inefficient windows
  • Plant shade trees along the sunny side of the house to reduce air conditioning costs

Looking for more tips? Ready to schedule that energy audit? Contact your expert local electricians to get started!

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