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What Can You Do to Help Reduce Your Natural Gas Bills?

Conservation and efficient natural gas use must be part of our national strategy to use natural gas wisely and control the pace of increases in natural gas demand. This is especially important in the short term. While conservation and improved efficiency alone aren't enough to reduce natural gas costs, these actions are crucial components. These actions are particularly important because it takes time to bring additional new supplies to market. Just as the oil and natural gas industry is committed to continuing to reduce energy consumption in its operations, consumers can do their part to use energy more wisely.

 

Here are a few steps you can take to make your home more energy-efficient, helping to reduce both your heating and cooling bills.

 

Doors and windows

  • Check for leaks and drafts and add weather stripping as needed.
  • Install curtains on windows.

Furnaces and water heaters

  • Tune up existing furnaces.
  • Clean filters on forced-air furnaces.
  • Wrap the hot-water heater in an insulating jacket.
  • When buying a new furnace, do not get one larger than you need.
  • Replace inefficient furnaces and water heaters with new high-efficiency models.

Insulation

  • Insulate older uninsulated homes.
  • If your home already has some insulation, consider increasing the amount of insulation in the attic and/or floors over a basement or crawlspace.

Other

  • Conduct an "energy audit" of your home to evaluate your heating system's efficiency and determine where heat loss may be occurring. Many fuel suppliers and utility providers offer these audits as a free service.
  • You can also perform your own home energy audit on the Internet, and find other useful tips, by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy web site and following the instructions found there.
  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • Install a thermostat that will automatically lower temperatures when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air in the house, keeping the air mixed.
  • Seal flues in unused fireplaces.
  • Lower-income customers may be able to get financial aid to help in paying heating bills from a federal program called LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which gives money to state governments to help pay part of those bills for households that qualify, as well as for home weatherization. Contact your state energy office for more information.

The tips offered above are just a few of the many ways to conserve energy. If you would like additional information on making your home more energy efficient, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has created an Internet-based tool at http://homeenergysaver.lbl.gov. Based upon information provided by you about your house, this website calculates an estimate of your annual energy bill and compares that estimate to one of an energy efficient home. It also offers tips on efficiency and calculates the savings from making your home energy efficient.


For years, the oil and natural gas industry has been aggressively pursuing energy and resource conservation through steps such as:

  • Turning waste heat into useful electricity using a process known as cogeneration.
  • Investing in more energy-efficient lighting, equipment, production processes, and energy generation facilities.
  • Participating in EPA's voluntary programs, Green Lights, Energy Star and Natural Gas Star, to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. These programs have exceeded EPA expectations for efficiency improvements.
  • Developing more efficient refining operations and using computers to improve the efficiency of these operations.
  • Using advanced technology, such as directional drilling, horizontal wells, and 3D seismic to reduce the number of wells needed to explore for and produce natural gas.
  • Using enhanced recovery techniques to produce more from existing fields.