Whether you’re looking to save money on your utility bills or simply want to have less of an environmental impact, making your home more energy efficient in big and small ways can help you achieve your goals. We’ve compiled a roundup of the top tips from our 5-month long Energy Efficiency Workshop Series to help you get started.  


If you own your own home or are still renting, check out these 12 easy ways you can make your home more environmentally conscious.  

  1. USE COLD WATER TO DO LAUNDRY. Heating water accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash a load of laundry, so switching to cold water could save you hundreds per year.  
  2. HANG DRY CLOTHING INSTEAD OF USING A DRYER. Clothes hanging racks are relatively inexpensive and they come in a variety of sizes to fit your needs.    
  3. TURN OFF THE HEATED DRYING CYCLE ON YOUR DISHWASHER. This will save energy while also making your dishes and dishwasher last longer.  
  4. USE LOW-FLOW SHOWERHEADS. You can decrease your water consumption by 40% or more leading to significant annual savings on both your water and energy bills. Be sure that you go with a new model because they are much better at creating a high-pressure experience.  
  5. TURN OFF LIGHTS AND APPLIANCES WHEN NOT IN USE. Not only will this save you money, but it will help to increase the lifespan of your appliances. If you have the option, unplugging devices from other outlets can save you even more.  
  6. REPLACE INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULBS WITH LED LIGHTBULBS. LED lightbulbs are seven times more efficient at producing light than incandescent lightbulbs. They also last much longer (50K hours versus 1.2K hours).  
  7. INVEST IN WI-FI SMART PLUGS. This will allow you to create a schedule where devices and appliances turn on and off throughout the day. If you leave a light or appliance on by accident, you can turn it off remotely. 
  8. USE SMART POWER STRIPS THROUGHOUT YOUR HOME. Smart power strips allow you to create schedules and remotely turn on and off each outlet. The key difference between Wi-Fi smart plugs and smart power strips is that smart power strips have multiple devices individually through only one outlet.  
  9. UNPLUG DEVICES AND APPLIANCES THAT AREN’T IN USE. There are certain appliances like your refrigerator and oven that you can’t or would be inconvenient to unplug, but there are plenty of other things like your blender and cell phone chargers that are easy to unplug when not in use. This will save you between $100 and $200 each year.  
  10. USE POWER SAVING SETTINGS ON YOUR DEVICES. Many devices like your television and computer have power-saving settings or modes that you can turn on. This will help you save energy and extend the life of your devices.  
  11. ADJUST THE TEMPERATURE ON YOUR REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER. Since it takes a considerable amount of energy to keep your refrigerator and freezer consistently at low temperatures, try adjusting your refrigerator to 38°F and freezer anywhere between 0°F to 5°F to help avoid using too much energy. 
  12. CHECK FOR LEAKS. If you have a leak in your home, there is a 60% chance that it’s coming from your toilet. The most common sources of toilet leaks are from a bad fill valve, a broken handle, or a loose chain. The easiest way to find out if you have a leak is to perform a dye test using leak detection tablets that you can pick up from your local hardware store.  

Your home is one of your biggest investments, so it’s important to be thoughtful about what energy-efficient updates that you want to make. These tips are ordered from those that require the least investment to the most.  

  1. TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR WATER HEATER. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees can reduce standby heat loss and save you up to 15% annually. Before adjusting the temperature, be sure to double-check whether your dishwasher has a booster heater since they typically have specific temperature requirements.  
  2. ADD WEATHER STRIPPING TO DOORS AND WINDOWS.  Even newer homes have small cracks and gaps where arm air escapes during winter and hot air leads in during summer, driving up utility bills each month.  
  3. SEAL AREAS THAT HAVE GAPS SUCH AS WHERE THE PLUMBING PENETRATES THE WALL. Like weather stripping, this will help to prevent hot and cold air loss. 
  4. KNOW HOW MUCH WATER YOUR OUTDOOR PLANTS NEED.  All plants have varying seasonal needs. To find out how many minutes to water and the amount of water your plants need, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has a water budget table to help you with a basic watering schedule. 
  5. INVEST IN A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT. Set automatic heating and cooling schedules based on your routines to save energy with ease.   
  6. INVEST IN LOW-FLOW TOLIETS. Aside from saving money on your water bill, low-flow toilets can also add to your home’s resale value.  
  7. PURCHASE ENERGY-STAR CERTIFIED APPLIANCES. Refrigerators typically consume large amounts of electricity even when they are turned off. When you are purchasing a new refrigerator or any other large appliance, be sure to get one that is ENERGY-STAR certified to reduce your energy usage and bills over time. The EnergyGuide label will tell you the estimated operating cost per year, however, you’ll want to look at the cost per kilowatt hour listed on the label and compare it to your PNM cost per kilowatt hour to get a more accurate yearly energy cost.  
  8. DEVELOP PLANS TO REPLACE YOUR HEATING SYSTEMS BEFORE THEY FAIL. A typical furnace has an expected service life of around 15-20 years and a typical water heater is only 10-12 years. A high-efficiency HVAC system is less expensive to operate, safer, and lasts longer than lower efficiency units. Be sure to do research and get estimates in advance so you are prepared in case your system fails unexpectedly.  

After you decide what energy efficient upgrades you want to make to your home, it’s important to check out the rebates and tax credits that are available to help you accomplish those changes. Here is a list to help you get started.  

  • PNM INSTANT DISCOUNTS. When you buy select ENERGY STAR-certified products at participating retailers, PNM gives you an instant discount at the register. From lightbulbs to small appliances, look for the PNM logo and save money.  
  • PNM ONLINE REBATES. If you’ve already purchased a new ENERGY STAR qualifying appliance and missed out on the instant rebate in the store, simply submit your rebate online. 
  • NM GAS COMPANY REBATES. You can receive up to $200 to improve air and duct sealing, and up to $1,000 to improve insulation in your home. You must use a participating contractor in order to receive these rebates.  
  • BERNALILLO COUNTY IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY REBATES. From high-efficiency rotating sprinkler nozzles to pressure regulation devices, these rebates will help you save on updating your home’s irrigation system.  
  • BERNALILLO COUNTY XERISCAPING CONVERSION REBATES. If you convert your landscape to a desert-friendly xeriscape and use drip irrigation, you can qualify for a $2.00 per square foot rebate 
  • BERNALILLO COUNTY RAINWATER HARVESTING REBATES. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to conserve water and keep your landscape healthy. Rainwater harvesting rebates for rain barrels and cisterns are based on the amount of rain that can be stored.  
  • BERNALILLO COUNTY TREEBATES. Trees provide shade and reduce water loss to evaporation. Each year you buy a tree that qualifies, you can receive 25% off the purchase and installation up to a maximum of $100.  
  • SANTA FE IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT REBATES. From rain sensors to soil moisture sensors, these rebates will help you save on updating your home’s irrigation equipment.  
  • SANTA FE RAINWATER HARVESTING REBATES. Similar to Bernalillo County, rainwater harvesting rebates for barrels and cisterns are based on the amount of rain that can be stored. Each residential customer is eligible for rebates on a maximum of four rain barrels per household.  
  • SANTA FE GREYWATER SYSTEM REBATES. Earn up to a $175 rebate when you install a laundry to landscape system that diverts water from your clothes washer to your landscape. 
  • SUSTAINABLE BUILDING TAX CREDIT (SBTC). New Mexico offers the Sustainable Building Tax Credit to encourage sustainable building practices and the use of energy-efficient products. There are 2 types of tax credits available under the program:  
    • A credit for installing certain energy-efficient products in existing residences (this includes ENERGY STAR-certified products like heat pump water heaters).  
    • A credit for new construction projects.  

Homewise can help you with understanding your options and applying for rebates you may qualify for. Plus, we offer low-interest home improvement and energy loans to help you make upgrades to your home. Reach out to learn more