4 Steps to Becoming an ENERGY STAR

Here are four steps to reducing home energy use that will put you on the fast track to energy stardom.
Apr 6, 2015 1:30 PM ET

GM has yet again earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest corporate recognition – the 2015 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year award for Sustained Excellence. The recognition is the result of our continued efforts to protect the environment through superior energy efficiency practices.

Although we operate on a large industrial scale, many of our energy-saving strategies apply to business and homeowners alike. In honor of our fourth consecutive year as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, here are four steps to put you on the fast track to energy stardom.

1. Track Your Energy Use

We use our Energy OnStar system to track energy performance at many of our manufacturing plants. Energy OnStar tracks 2.5 million data points per minute and provides real-time monitoring of energy per unit produced.

You can monitor the energy use of your home using a number of new technologies. Nest – a programmable thermostat that adjusts to conserve energy – and apps like DTE’s Energy Insight, which helps monitor the energy use of appliances in your home, are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

2. Invest in Energy Efficient Tech

In the past year alone, we spent $34 million on energy efficiency, water and carbon reduction projects in more than 30 facilities. There will always be an upfront cost to upgrading equipment, but investing in efficient technology will pay off in the long term. We expect a return on these investments in less than two years.

At home, there are ways to conserve energy without even realizing it, like installing water saving shower heads and faucet aerators, which restrict the volume of water that flows forcing the water to come out at a higher pressure, thus replicating a normal shower.  Your pocketbook will thank you when those utility bills come in.

3. Commit to Improvement

Set goals for reducing your energy and water use and develop steps for becoming an “energy super hero.” ENERGY STAR’s “Pledge to Save Energy” site has a number of ways to get you started. Setting your desktop computer or laptop to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity or buying holiday lights with the ENERGY STAR label are effortless ways to cut down on energy use.

We remain the global leader of the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry with 70 GM facilities that committed to cut energy intensity by 10 percent in five years or less. Collectively these efforts resulted in $196 million in energy costs avoided and 1.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions reduced, equivalent to adding 378,947 passenger vehicles without a greenhouse gas impact. And we continue to pursue even more reductions.

4. Communicate Success

GM also earned the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Climate Communications award for its commitment to educating employees, customers and other stakeholders about the importance of energy efficiency and the impacts of climate change.

Many energy companies now offer anonymous comparisons of how your home’s energy use stacks up to your neighbors’. You can also use MyEnergy.com to compare your utility bills to similar types of homes. Once you learn ways to keep your energy costs low, you can share your tips with others – like which kind of LED lightbulbs produce the most natural light, or how to encourage your kids to turn off lights before leaving a room.

For more ideas on becoming more energy efficient at home, check out our list of 10 tips.