Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting
Cost Savings: $112
It's not a get-rich quick scheme, but lighting represents a significant share of a home's energy bill, about 11% $210 annually. So wasting less energy is a way to make a buck.
Replacing old incandescent light bulbs with efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs) or even halogens can save up to 75% on your annual lighting bill. Factoring in the cost of replacing bulb and the longer lifetime of today's efficient bulbs, relative to incandescent bulbs, and the energy savings amounts to about $112 a year for the average home with 45 light fixtures. That means you'll pay off the investment in about two years, then start enjoying savings in the third year. A rule of thumb: $1 spent on lighting upgrades pays back $6.
Importantly, you'll want to use the right bulb for the right fixtures. CFLs don't last long in fixtures that are switched on and off frequently, or in environments subject to cold temperatures, for instance (see more places you should not put a CFL bulb). And you'll want to buy smart: Energy Star light bulbs are not only rated for energy efficiency, but for quality: They come with a two-year warranty and should last at least 6,000 hours.
Of course, another simple way to save energy on lighting is the simplest tip of all: Turn off the lights when you leave the room!