How to Save Money This Winter and Help The Environment

winter day

– Article by CaliforniaGermans contributor Claudia Gardner

Winter is coming and with it colder weather and shorter daylight. In the winter season everyone enjoys the inviting coziness of a warm home and the sizzling heat of a fireplace. During this holiday season be mindful in how to use all your resources. We can all do our part for the preservation of the environment and with that we have the added benefit of also saving money for ourselves. A few simple energy saving tips can make a big difference to you and the environment:

  1. Let the sunshine in. Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free.
  2. Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney.  When not in use make sure the damper is closed.
  3. Shut off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  4. Take shorter showers.  Showers account for 2/3 of water heating cost!
  5. When using your dishwasher or washing machine make sure the loads are full.   Try to use the cold water setting on your washing machine.  This reduces your washer’s energy use by 75%.
  6. Put your computer and monitor into sleep mode during the day.  But do not leave them in sleep mode overnight, as they will still use small amounts of energy. Turn off your devices completely!
  7. Many electronics, such as TV’s, VCR’s, chargers and computers use energy even when they are switched off.  If possible unplug them.   The best way to minimize losses of energy is to purchase ENERGY STAR products.
  8. Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light bulbs.   They use 75% less energy.
  9. Replace your old weather stripping on doors and windows.
  10. Install low flow showerheads.
  11. Increase ceiling insulation to save up to 15% on energy costs.
  12. Program your thermostat and set it at a comfortable temperature before temperatures drop. It is more cost-efficient to maintain a certain temperature than to change it dramatically.
  13. Replace dirty air filters. This can help you save up to 20% of your monthly heating bill.

Check with Southern California Edison and with the Gas Company if your income has been reduced during these hard economic times.  They have programs that can help you if you fall into a certain income category.  Edison even has a program to give you a free refrigerator if yours is old and inefficient.

The Gas Company will install new weather stripping and give you low flow showerheads if you qualify.  In some cases you will also get ceiling insulation for free.  For a limited period of time you will get a $300 rebate on a new, energy-efficient pool pump.

Sources: The Week, Southern California Edison, The Gas Company

This article is part of CaliforniaGermans’  monthly column on Real Estate & Living in California. We would love to hear from you and get your feedback.  Please let us know what kind of concerns with the housing market you might have or what Real Estate question is on your mind.  What would you like to have discussed in more detail in this section?  Send us a comment or an email to
CLAUDIA GARDNER has a professional background in Real Estate and a bachelors degree in Business Administration. Raised by German parents in Brazil, she is fluent in German, Portuguese, English and Spanish. Claudia has lived in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa for the last 34 year and loves selling real estate and helping people with all their real estate needs. More  up to date information on California housing can be found on her e-newsletter: or on her website


One response to “How to Save Money This Winter and Help The Environment

  1. Great advice, thank you for sharing that with your readers. The link to Southern California Edison’s programs to help those with bill discounts and other solutions is

    We also have energy efficiency tips at


    — Vanessa McGrady, Media Relations
    Southern California Edison