First Things First
Before undertaking a renewable energy project, you should first do everything you can to make your home or business energy-efficient. The following resources can help you save money and energy at the same time.
A nonprofit organization that promotes the efficient use of energy to strengthen America's economy, improve the environment, make housing more affordable, and move the country toward energy independence. Its website offers a variety of useful information, including information on the Alliance's programs, energy-saving tips, publications, and a list of links related to energy efficiency.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection. Produces a number of publications, including Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, which discusses the entire spectrum of home energy savings and residential appliances, including a list of the most energy-efficient equipment and appliances available.
Use this handy online calculator from NorthWestern Energy to find out how much your appliances are costing you each month.
This tool from NorthWestern Energy can help you understand where and how energy is used in your facility, find out more about demand charges, and to access the commercial energy systems library.
NorthWestern Energy's E+ Business Partners Program offers funding for local energy conservation and load management projects in new and retrofit applications including commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family residential facilities/systems. NorthWestern Energy solicits proposals for this program through customers, architects, engineers and other energy efficiency trade allies
NorthWestern Energy can help businesses use energy more efficiently. With an E+® Commercial Energy Appraisal, NWE says it can help business customers learn how they use energy and where their energy dollars are going. When its appropriate, the utility offers recommendations on energy efficiency opportunities for business including managing a facility for energy efficiency and choosing energy efficient products and equipment.
DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers this information center where you can access consumer fact sheets, tools, and other resources on energy topics.
For those who want to know what something is in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies or how things such as a wind turbine or solar panel work, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy (EERE) has launched the new Energy Basics website. The fresh destination explains the concepts behind everything from hybrid electric vehicles to ocean wave energy. It also gives overviews of home, building, and industrial energy efficiency, telling how various components and approaches can be used to make daily life better. The site features videos, highlighting wind energy and solar power among other renewable sources, and includes an energy term glossary. Be sure to check back often, because Energy Basics will be expanding and adding new information over time.
Check out this extensive library from NorthWestern Energy, which provides tons of useful information about how energy is used in your home.
Montanans who want to learn about ways to cut energy expenses in their homes, businesses, government buildings and schools will find lots of helpful information on the Energize Montana website maintained by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
A monthly newsletter from NorthWestern Energy that will help you conserve energy around your home and business.
Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends close to $1,300 a year on their home's utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. The amount of energy wasted just through poorly insulated windows and doors is about as much energy as the United States gets from the Alaskan pipeline each year. And electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. By using a few inexpensive energy-efficient measures, you can reduce your energy bills by 10% to 50% and, at the same time, help reduce air pollution. Visit Energy Savers to learn more about energy-efficient insulation and weatherization, heating and cooling your home, water heating, windows, landscaping, lighting and appliances. You'll also find a Major Appliance Shopping Guide.
A NorthWestern Energy publcation that provides useful tips for conserving energy used for clothes drying, lighting, space heating, water heating, and more.
Have you ever wondered if it made sense to switch to another heating fuel? Find out with NorthWestern's cost comparison.
A government-backed program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Energy Star certifies products in a variety of categories that achieve high levels of energy efficiency, including appliances, lighting, windows and doors, heating and cooling, exit signs, office equipment, and electronics. Products meeting Energy Star standard are identified on the website, along with other sources of information, savings calculators, and more. As well, the Energy Star New Homes program certifies homes that meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set forth by EPA. The website also identifies ways to make your home or business more energy-efficient and, thus, less costly to operate.
Making your home more energy-efficient with ENERGY STAR can help to reduce high energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment. Improving energy efficiency is also an important first step for homeowners interested in green remodeling. ENERGY STAR can guide you in making your home more efficient — whether you do-it-yourself or hire a qualified professional.
Ravalli Electric Coop in Corvallis, Montana, has assembled an "Energy Usage" page on its website. The page lists average monthly kilowatt-hour figures for various appliances.
Sponsored by DOE and EPA, this resource serves as an Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings. Helps identify best ways to conserve energy in the home, estimates how much energy and money can be saved by implementing energy-efficiency improvements, and connects users to "how-to" information resources to help capitalize on the energy savings opportunities identified by the module.
Provides useful information on making a home more energy-efficient. Covers topics such as greenhouses, windows, insulation, solar energy, and more.
You can take simple steps on your own to reduce your home's energy use and your energy bills. You can also make sure that you use your home appliances efficiently and buy new ones that are energy savers. The Oregon State University Extension Energy Program has published a series of pamphlets on simple steps to reduce home energy use and cut energy bills, buying and using efficient appliances, appliances in general, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators/freezers and water heaters.
A non-profit group of electric utilities, state governments, public interest groups and industry representatives working to bring affordable, energy-efficient products and services to the marketplace.
If you are planning to relocate your family or business, this NorthWestern Energy tool can help you estimate the cost difference of your monthly electricity bill.
These are downloadable factsheets (Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) are designed for Western Area Power Administration customers. These factsheets provide basic information on how to "think" about energy efficient appliances and what questions to ask when making purchasing decisions. The factsheets are optimized for printing in color and black and white.