Fact or Fiction

1. More energy is used to turn off and on a computer than to let it run overnight.
It does not take any extra energy to turn on a computer than to keep it running. Therefore, you will always be saving energy by turning off your computer when you are not using it. Monitors especially use a lot of energy, accounting for up to two-thirds of the energy consumed by a computer workstation. Always make sure to turn off your monitor when you leave your workstation or program it to revert to "sleep" mode.

2. Low flow toilets are a marketing gimmick and do not actually save much water.
Most high efficiency toilets on the market use less than 1.3 gallons per flush while conventional toilets can use up to 7 gallons of water per flush. According to the US EPA, toilet use makes up 30% of all residential water use, allowing for huge water savings by switching to high efficiency toilets.

3. Letting your car idle when at a stop for a minute or more can save more gas than turning your engine off and on.
Because of modern fuel-injection technology, less gas is used turning on your engine than is used idling for even short periods of time. If you know you are going to be at a standstill for even just 30 seconds, you can save gas by turning off your engine.

4.Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) might use less energy than incandescent bulbs but the risks associated with the mercury in CFLs outweigh the energy savings.
CFLs contain very little mercury and none is released when the bulb is in use and intact. Most CFLs contain only 5 milligrams of mercury; compare that to the 500 milligrams of mercury that are used in traditional thermometers. When the bulb burns out there are several recycling centers across Houston where you can safely dispose of your CFL. On the other hand, the US EPA estimates that a coal power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to generate the electricity needed to run a conventional incandescent bulb compared to the 2.4mg a coal power plant emits to run a CFL for the same time. Therefore, installing a CFL is actually an opportunity to reduce mercury emissions.

5. The energy savings from a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) do not lower my energy bill enough to cover the increased cost of a CFL.
CFLs use about 75% less electricity than conventional light bulbs and last about 10 times as long. Additionally, CFLs produce much less heat than incandescent bulbs and can save on cooling costs. On average, a consumer will save over $50 in energy costs over the lifetime of one CFL.

6. The amount of energy it takes to cool a warm home is so great that when leaving for the day, you should keep the air conditioning running to maintain a constant cool temperature.
It pays to turn off your air conditioning when you will be away for more than an hour. It is a myth that it uses more energy to re-cool a warm home than to continuously run an air conditioner.

7. Fluorescent bulbs require such a surge of energy to power up that more energy is saved leaving them on when exiting a room than turning them off.
It is true that more energy is used to start up a fluorescent bulb than what is needed for continuous operation--but only slightly. According to the US Department of Energy, powering up a fluorescent is the equivalent of only a few seconds of normal operation. Therefore, in almost every circumstance, you can save energy by turning of your fluorescents when they are not needed.

8. Clothes do not get clean enough and there is not enough energy savings to make it worth my while to use cold water instead of hot water in the washing machine.
In most instances, using cold water will leave your clothes as clean as using hot water, and it can save you a lot on your next utility bill. About 90% of energy used for washing clothes goes to heating the water; so even using warm water instead of hot water will result in significant energy savings.