Energy Efficiency

Many of us are working from home or just spending time at home, which means we use more lights, electronics and appliances, as well as the heater or air conditioner. This could increase your energy use and can cost you more money.

Of course, if you own a Meritage home, you already have energy-efficient features that help cut down on electrical use and save you money, such as UV-blocking windows, that deflect heat and UV rays, spray foam insulation that reduces the loss of conditioned air and sealed insulated ducts that boost the effectiveness of your HVAC system.

But if you want to save even more energy and help reduce your energy bills, there are additional steps you can take, according to Jill Hanks, spokesperson for Arizona Public Service (APS), which serves 1.3 million customers in 11 counties.


Many of us are spending a lot more time on our computers at home these days, logging in to video conferences or working remotely. And with kids being at home too, the television might be on more often. “The good news is using things more often while working at home, like your computer and television, aren’t large drivers of your electricity bills,” says Hanks. However, you should still try to unplug your laptop, computer and other electronics when you’re done for the day because they still use some energy, even when they’re off or in sleep mode.


Working from home means you’re likely using your lights more than usual. Hanks suggests switching to LED light bulbs. They last up to 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use 90% less energy. They also emit approximately 90% less heat, which helps save on overall costs. And the best way to save on lighting costs is as simple as flicking a switch. “Of course, when you’re not using something, turn it off,” says Hanks. “And remind the kids to do that as well.”

Thermostat and fans

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Consider wearing a sweater and slippers on colder days. When you go to bed or leave the house, lower your thermostat even more. A smart or programmable thermostat allows you to set it and forget it, automatically adjusting heating and cooling settings to save money year-round. Check your utility’s website to see if you qualify for smart thermostat rebates, such as the one from APS.

Reverse your ceiling fans in the winter. Run them clockwise to draw room air up and blow warm air down.  “And remember, fans make people feel warmer or cooler but they don’t actually heat or cool rooms. So when you leave the room, turn the fan off.”

Open blinds and curtains during the day to let in the sunshine and close them at night to trap the heat.

Time-of-use pricing

If you're spending more time at home, you may be running the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer during the day. Check if your utility company has different pricing for peak and off-peak hours. Some do, and it’s best to take advantage of that because in exchange for higher peak prices, all the rest of the time power is usually cheaper than it is on flat-rate plans. For instance, if peak hours are from 3-8 p.m., run your appliances before or after to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity rates.

Also, consider investing in a water heater controller to heat water during off-peak hours and store it like a battery.

More tips

There are other things you can do that will, in the end, save you on energy costs.

1. Schedule a heating system tune-up

2. Winterize by caulking and weather stripping doors and windows – anywhere outside air might enter.

3. Schedule a free Virtual Energy Checkup – many utility companies, such as APS, have energy efficiency advisors who will walk customers through a personalized virtual tour of their own homes giving tips on how and where to save energy and money.

4. Create an online home energy profile – Some utility companies offer customers an online survey to see how efficient their home is as well as get potential savings estimates and energy savings recommendations that make sense for their lifestyle.

For more tips, click here.

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Energy Efficiency

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