News From Our Blog

Fall is a good time to look at your home energy use. This calculator can help you find places to save.

Find Ways To Conserve Energy This Month

This October is Energy Awareness Month, and it is a good time to go over your energy routine and think of ways to conserve energy in your home and daily life.

Pay attention to the energy use in your home so you can monitor how much you are using. Simply unplugging some large energy consumers when they are not in use, such as home entertainment systems, and turning off lights when you leave a room, can save you money on your utility bill each month.

Stay up-to-date on new appliances and technologies that save energy and money, so that when it comes time to replace something, you know the most energy friendly options. You can find information on energy efficient appliances at

You can also help your kids understand the importance of energy conservation by teaching them how they can make a difference and why it is important to care about preserving our planet. Energy Star Kids is a fun, interactive, and educational tool your kids can explore.

Learn more about energy awareness and how to save.

Maryland Virtual Tour - Solar Decathlon 2011

Video description

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. This video is a tour of the 2011 winning entry from the University of Maryland.


Student Leah Davies:

During our design process, we wanted to integrate simple design, vernacular design, and modern design. So a very technologically innovative and modern home that’s comfortable to live in. We’re really excited that our message and our mission goes beyond solar.

Student Allyson Wilson:

But our story is also about water, and how we can capture that resource and cycle it through our house, and reuse it on site instead of letting it become runoff to areas down the stream. To do that, we have a number of technologies. We have a green roof. We also have a constructed wetland that runs through the core of our house, which filters our gray water and stores our storm water.

Student Leah Davies:

We have two liquid desiccant waterfalls. It’s a dehumidifying system that basically combines engineering and architecture to become a design feature. What it does is it draws moisture from the air and mixes it with a lithium-chloride solution. So the air that’s released into the back into the house is dry, which significantly reduces the loads on our mini-split system.

Student Allyson Wilson:

It really does take a village to build this house. We would not be here without the ridiculous amounts of help we’ve received from our teammates. It really is a team effort, and I think that’s one of our greatest strengths is that we’ve all really been there for each other in the last week, in terms of somebody needs help and everybody’s stepping up. It’s a great project to be a part of.

ENERGY STAR can help you find the most efficient TV, fridge, washer, and heating or cooling system for your money.

Video description: Shopping for Light Bulbs

Video transcript:

Announcer: Light bulbs are getting more efficient. They use a lot less energy to give you the light you want.

Which means you pay lower energy bills.

Better light bulbs also mean a better way to shop.

You’re probably used to buying light bulbs based on watts.

But watts only tell you how much energy a bulb uses, not brightness.

If you want to know how bright a bulb is, you need to think lumens.

The more lumens, the brighter the light – no matter the bulb.

A traditional bulb uses 60 watts to produce 800 lumens.

But this bulb delivers 800 lumens using only 15 watts.

All these bulbs use different amounts of energy but produce the same amount of light.

How do you know which one to buy?

To help you decide, light bulb packages will have a Lighting Facts label.

It’ll tell you a bulb’s brightness, and an estimate of its energy cost and life span.

So the next time you shop for a light bulb, look for the lumens and the Lighting Facts label.

It’s a bright idea.