Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
Energy Education - Green Tips

Green Tips

Hints and ideas from OSU in Tulsa's Energy Education office for how to conserve resources and save money.

Green Tips for Cold Weather

  • Purchase an energy-efficient furnace. Look for an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 90 percent or greater.
  • Clean furnace filters monthly and replace them if necessary. A clean unit runs more efficiently.
  • Consider switching to a natural gas heating system. Natural gas is less expensive than other heating fuels.
  • Proper insulation requires less energy to keep your home warm. Insulate your attic to an R-value of 38 for a gas-heated home and 50 for an electrically heated home; your walls to an R-value of 19; and your sill box (upper portion of your basement walls) to an R-value of 10.
  • Weather-strip and/or caulk all areas of noticeable leaks around windows and doors. Removable caulking is a good option for windows that you open in summer but not in winter.
  • In the winter, set your thermostat at 60° F when you are sleeping or away from home. Set the thermostat to 68° F when you are at home. This can save 10 percent or more on your heating bills every winter.
  • If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, turn your thermostat down even lower to save energy, but never lower than 40° F. If you have delicate houseplants, keep the setting at 50° F or higher.
  • Keep window shades and drapes open during winter months to let in the sun’s radiant heat. Sunlight can have a noticeable effect on the temperature in your home, especially from windows facing south and west.
  • Use a portable space heater to heat a single room without using your furnace to heat the whole house. Using a space heater to heat all or most of your home costs more. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions when operating space heaters.
  • If you use your fireplace often, consider fireplace inserts, doors or covers to reduce heat loss when using the fireplace.
  • If you are building a home, replacing heating equipment or remodeling, talk to your heating contractor about the options available to ensure proper air flow. Controlling air flow into and out of your home ensures energy efficiency, comfort and low energy costs.
  • When installing new windows, select, at a minimum, double-paned (double-glazed) thermal windows. With existing single-paned windows, make sure you use storm windows during the winter months.


Green Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a great opportunity to save on energy costs both at work and home. Before leaving your office or home, do your part to help conserve energy.

  • Turn off computers, monitors, speakers and printers
  • Empty, defrost and unplug mini-refrigerators
  • Unplug electronic items such as coffeemakers and microwaves
  • Close blinds and tilt upward to reduce heat loss
  • Turn off all lights and unplug task or holiday lights


Green Tips for Excessive Heat

During extreme heat, it is important to keep yourself healthy by hydrating frequently and staying out of the sun as much as possible. It is also important to make sure outdoor pets have plenty of shade and cool, clean water.  The extreme heat also affects office and household utility budgets. Here are a few examples of how to beat the heat:

Tips for now:

  • Do not place lamps or TVs near your air conditioning thermostat.  The heat will cause the air conditioning to run longer. 
  • Sunny windows can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder. Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Be sure to close curtains on south and west facing windows during the day. 
  • Air leaks can waste energy dollars year-round. Caulking and weather stripping will keep cool air in during the summer. 
  • Clean and/or replace filters regularly.

Tips for the future:

  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, being careful to not block the air flow.  A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.
  • When the time comes to purchase an air conditioner, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. ENERGY STAR models are 14 SEER or more.