Using a programmable thermostat and switching to energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs also can yield substantial savings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Today's appliances are 40 percent more efficient than those just 14 years old, Stefan says. That's especially important with big energy suckers like refrigerators, which typically use more energy than anything else in the house.
As for light bulbs, Stefan says, only 6 percent of the electricity drawn by traditional bulbs is turned into light. The rest becomes heat.
"It is a very inefficient technology — and it should be. It was invented in the 1800s," he says.
Today's light bulbs can provide energy savings of up to 75 percent and last 10 to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, according to the Energy Department.
"This is not political or ideological," Stefan says. "It's plain old common sense."
U.S. Department of Energy, www.energy.gov/public-services/homes