Between lights, electronics, and appliances, electricity accounts for almost 40 percent of the average home's energy use. But there are ways to cut back in each category without sacrificing.
By changing 10 bulbs and replacing three major appliances with energy-efficient models, you can save hundreds per year. As our survey found, many American are already taking advantage of those savings. Almost two-thirds have replaced an incandescent lightbulb with a CFL. As for appliances, 34 percent of respondents told us they've upgraded to an energy-efficient model. It doesn't make sense to pitch a perfectly good appliance or electronic item, but if you're in the market for a new one, the type you choose can make a difference. For example, side-by-side refrigerators use more energy than top- or bottom-mounts, top-loading washers use more electricity and water than front-loaders, and plasma TVs use more electricity than LCD sets.
Plug electronics into power strips with built-in sensors that automatically shut off devices that aren't in use. Set your computer to hibernate. Use LED holiday string lights. Turn off lights when you leave a room.
The EcoSmart 423-599 240EDXO-14 compact fluorescent bulb was the top performer in our tests. It replaces a 60-watt standard incandescent bulb and costs only $1.50.
The GE WCVH6800J, an $800 front-loading washer, scored excellent in both water and energy efficiencies, saving up to $125 per year over a traditional top-loader.