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 ​Outside the House

Shade the Air Conditioning Unit
Using a tree or awning to shade the unit from the mid-day sun can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent. Be sure that there are no objects so close to the condensing unit that they block the flow of air to it.
Porch Light
Switch to ENERGY STAR-qualified exterior hard-wired fixtures and compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Choose models with a motion sensor that turns the light on only when someone is present and/or a photocell that turns the light on at night and off in the morning.
Swimming Pool
Your swimming pool may contribute to a higher-than-average energy bill, especially if your pool is equipped with a pump that's larger than necessary. Replace your standard pump and motor assembly with a high-efficiency unit or with multi-speed pump to lower your energy costs without sacrificing cleaning effectiveness.
  • Florida Power & Light Company recommends you limit the amount of time you run your pump to 6 hours a day in the summer and 4 hours a day in the winter.
  • Lower your pool heating costs as much as 50 percent, reduce water evaporation, and cut down on chemical costs with the purchase of a pool cover.
  • Consider a solar pool heater for additional savings. 


Watering lawns is the largest residential use of water. Consider reducing lawn area with edible landscaping; fruit trees, herb and vegetable gardens.
For more information on vegetable gardening and local food visit Sarasota County Extension. 
  • Minimize the water your landscaping requires by installing resource-conserving bay-friendly and native plants and reducing or eliminating high irrigation turf areas.
  • Design your landscape to save energy, water, and money.
  • Conventional landscapes can require energy intensive, polluting and often expensive maintenance practices that may heighten the demand for irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides and frequent mowing.
  • Consider the following regarding emissions associated with mowing and fertilizing.
  • According to the EPA, a push mower emits as much pollution in an hour as 11 cars and a riding mower as much as 34 cars.
  • According to the DOE Energy Information Administration, annual U.S. nitrous oxide emissions began rising sharply from 2003-2006 largely as a result of increases in the application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

When we can reduce the unintended impacts of our landscaping and gardening practices, we are preserving the vitality of our communities for generations to come. For more information see Landscaping to Save Energy.

If you need to water, do it as efficiently as possible and remember that saving water saves energy. For more information see Sarasota County Outdoor Water Conservation Tips.




Nearly 30 percent of the energy used in Florida is consumed by our vehicles. Florida has more registered cars per capita than any other state, with nearly one car for each person. 

There are opportunities to save money associated with our cars.

Options available to homeowners for alternatives to our gasoline powered vehicles include public transportation, neighborhood electric vehicles, and electric vehicles.
  • Ride the bus. Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). For more information on schedules, route maps, and fares visit SCAT.
  • Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), also called low-speed vehicles.  
  • Electric Vehicles (EVs) are available today from several major automobile manufacturers and must meet the same safety standards as conventional petroleum fueled vehicles.
    • EVs do not require tune-ups or oil changes associated with conventional vehicles and have no tailpipe emissions.
    • EVs are more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles due to the cost of their lithium-ion batteries, however battery prices are dropping with mass production.

 Help creating a water & energy smart yard

EPA Green Landscaping
Dept of Energy: EnergySavers
UF "Energy Efficient Homes - Landscaping"
Florida Native Plant Society
County Extension Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program
Florida-Friendly Landscaping
Florida Water Star Criteria for Residential Homes
Be Floridian
Sarasota County Outdoor Water Conservation Tips


A Tale of Three Light Bulbs-Handout.docxA Tale of Three Light Bulbs-Handout
April 2 free wkshps save money.pdfApril 2 free wkshps save money
Energy and Water Evaluation Guide with cover_Final.pdfEnergy and Water Evaluation Guide with cover_Final
Holiday Checklist.pdfHoliday Checklist
Instructions for Family Sustainability Kit.pdfInstructions for Family Sustainability Kit
Landscaping to Save Energy.pdfLandscaping to Save Energy
Sustainable Holidays.pdfSustainable Holidays
This program receives funding from the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. 

Sarasota County, Florida
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or 1-800-955-8771
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