looking for ways to save energy and money at home?  Here are eight things you can do to cost effectively lower your energy bill.

1. Install and set a programmable thermostat.

2. Use sunlight to your advantage.  During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home. During warmer months, use light-colored window shades or blinds to reflect heat back outside, keeping your home cooler and more efficient. Using natural lighting effectively will also reduce the need to use artificial light.

3. When replacing appliances or purchasing electronics, look for ENERGY STAR appliances, fans and electronics.

4. Choose energy-saving lighting.

5. Use an electronic power strip for your electronic equipment.

6. Reduce energy for water heating. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees.

7. Hire a professional to maintain your heating and cooling system. Arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician

8. Consult a home performance contractor to achieve large savings.