14 ways to get a more energy efficient lawn, garden & home

Temperatures may be rising, but that doesn’t mean your energy bill has to go up too. There are lots of great ways to create a more energy efficient environment inside and outside your home. Keep these tips in mind for a healthier lawn, a happier garden and a cooler home.  

It’s raining energy savings: how to reduce water waste

Overwatering, evaporation, runoff and water hogs (aka the flora that love to soak up as much water as they can) account for a ton of water waste during the spring and summer months. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as much as 50% of the household water we use outdoors is lost to these factors and others, like wind and inefficient irrigation methods.

Collect rainwater.

Don’t let a good gully washer go to waste. Set up a rain barrel outside, or even just empty watering cans and buckets, to capture those April showers for all your soon-to-arrive May flowers.

Watch how you water.

Ever driven or walked by a house where the street and driveway seem to be getting more water than the plants? That’s money down the literal drain. Whether you have a high-tech irrigation system or prefer a more old-school sprinkler, make sure you’re watering the right things at the right time and in the right amount. 

Set your alarm to water o’clock.

Reduce water evaporation by watering at the coolest times of day, either first thing in the morning or after the sun has gone down.

Make mulch your best friend.

Spread mulch around the base of trees and planting beds to limit water evaporation, reduce erosion and slow the growth of notoriously thirsty weeds.

Plant, grow & mow

Even if your green thumb is more light mint than rich emerald, there are still plenty of opportunities to keep your lawn and garden energy efficient ecosystems.  

Check your plant hardiness zone.

Changing weather patterns and conditions may mean that your plant hardiness zone, the regional area where perennials are most likely to thrive, has changed. By planting according to your zone, not only do your perennials stand a better chance at survival, but you’ll also be growing in a more energy efficient way. Find your zone using the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone map.

Try your hand at homegrown food.

What you spend in sweat equity, you make up with delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables and fewer trips to the grocery store. More people these days are also getting creative and resourceful by using their front yards for produce gardens. 

Don’t mow so low.

One of the easiest ways to reduce water waste in your yard is to raise the blade of your lawn mower. When you give your yard a buzz cut or mow too often, the grass dries out more quickly, leaving your lawn longing for a drink. Taller blades of grass provide shade for each other and retain more water. If you use a landscaper, communicate this to them and adjust your mow schedule accordingly, especially as the peak summer months roll in.

Backyard bliss

What’s better than a cookout? Not much! Turn your backyard into an energy-saving springtime hangout. 

Shine some light with LEDs and solar.

Take a walk around the outside of your property and look for any pathway lights, security lights or landscaping lights that you could replace with LED light bulbs or solar-powered alternatives. It’s a quick, easy and affordable way to make your home more energy efficient.

Grill and chill.

Make memories, save energy. Fire up the grill, enjoy some cool summer sides and salads and take in the night sky under LED-powered string lights. No oven means no extra heat inside and less air conditioning for a couple of hours.

Air-dry laundry.

Doing laundry probably doesn’t count as “bliss,” but using your dryer less can lead to some blissful energy reductions! And nothing beats the drying power of midday sun. It’s better for your clothes, sheets and towels, plus you’ll get to enjoy that lovely springtime scent only Mother Nature can manufacture.

Spring clean your way to a better energy bill

Take our free DIY Home Energy Assessment.

Answer questions about your home’s current energy use, and at the end of the assessment, you’ll get an easy-to-read report with energy improvement recommendations specific to your home. Plus, you’ll receive a free energy-saving kit and a $10 home improvement store gift card in the mail. Start saving energy and money when you take the assessment

Get a $50 HVAC tune-up rebate.

We recommend an HVAC tune-up twice a year, before winter and before summer. Knock out your HVAC tune-up now with a $50 rebate. Search our Quality Contractor Network for free to find a TVA-vetted heating and cooling pro.

Clean your filters.

If you can’t remember the last time you changed or cleaned the filter in your washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator water dispenser, even your vacuum or pool, then now is the time. Basic maintenance leads to lower energy use (and a lower energy bill), and you’ll also extend the life of your appliances, avoid costly home repairs and enjoy a more comfortable living environment. Check your appliance manuals or find them online for cleaning instructions.

Change the direction of your ceiling fans.

Got 30 seconds? Look for a little switch on your ceiling fans and make sure it’s set to counterclockwise. This creates a downdraft to help you feel cooler without lowering the thermostat. Don’t forget to turn off the fan when you leave the room.

Looking for more energy-saving tips for spring and summer?

Look no further than TVA EnergyRight and your local power company. Explore all of our resources, including helpful info on rebates, financing and where to find TVA-vetted contractors at EnergyRight.com/Residential.


The Residential Team


Save energy and money at home. The TVA EnergyRight Residential Team is here to help you improve your home's energy efficiency so you can lower your bill and live more comfortably.