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 air conditioner. This could increase your electric bill 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, 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 cooling 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

Hanks recommends trying the so-called 1, 2, 3 rule: Raise your thermostat by one degree to save 2-3% on energy cooling costs. For example, set your thermostat to 79 degrees and then use fans while you’re in the room. That will help you feel several degrees cooler. Make sure your ceiling fan is set to circulate air downward in the summer. “And remember, fans cool people and not rooms. So when you leave the room, turn the fan off.”

Also, if you’re going out on your lunch break to run errands or you know you’re going to be out of the house for a longer period of time, turn that thermostat up a few degrees to help you save electricity.

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.

Additionally, a lot of residents in hotter states like Arizona do what’s called “pre-cooling” or “super cooling.” This is when you turn your thermostat low to get it as cool as comfortable in the house during off-peak hours. A few minutes before the peak window, turn the thermostat up higher or even off. “Pre-cooling doesn’t only cool the air, it cools everything in the house including surfaces, and that keeps your home comfortable,” says Hanks. You can turn your air conditioning back down in the evening again. This may really lower your energy bill.

More tips

There are other small things you can do around your house that will, in the end, save you on energy costs. Close blinds and curtains during the day to keep the heat out. Install a smart thermometer that learns a household's patterns and adjusts heating and cooling according to when people are at home. Leave air vents around the house as open as possible. And, if you’re eating out less often and cooking lunch (and dinner) at home, think about grilling outside or using a microwave so the oven doesn’t heat the house.

For more tips, click here.

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