Energy-Saving Tips for Homeowners

Understand your energy use patterns

In My Account, you can compare your electricity and natural gas home heating costs with others in the greater Madison area. Knowing your use patterns for natural gas and electricity can help you target ways to save!

Energy audits


Learn how a Home Performance evaluation helps you prioritize your energy-saving projects.

To identify more specific ways to control your energy use:

Focus on Energy

MGE partners with Focus on Energy to bring energy-saving resources and incentives to our customers. They also offer cash-back rewards and incentives on various equipment purchases as well as free products and discounts on smart thermostats.

Energy loss

The majority of energy loss in your home can be due to insulation and windows. 

  • Insulation and air sealing: If your attic has less than 7 inches of insulation, consider adding more. If your walls have no insulation between the studs, insulating the cavities can make a big difference. In the Madison area, a value of R-38 is recommended for existing homes. Before you insulate, be sure to seal all openings, cracks and crevices where air can escape from your heated space into your attic. The effectiveness of your insulation will be reduced if air leaks around it. Before you start, you can have your home evaluated for air leakage and overall energy efficiency. In most parts of Wisconsin, you can have an expert home energy inspector from Home Performance conduct a complete inspection, rating and blower door test.
  • Windows: Despite claims of savings up to 45%, replacing all the windows in your home will rarely reduce your heating bills more than 10% to 15%. Because window replacement is expensive, the payback in energy savings may take 20 to 30 years or more. However, replacing your windows with ENERGY STAR® rated ones will often make you feel more comfortable.

Water heater

Your water heater accounts for approximately 15% of the energy use  and is the second largest single energy user in most homes.

  • Replace electric water heaters with gas.
  • Replace 1994 and older showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
  • Set water heater temperature at 120°F.
  • Insulate hot water pipes.
  • When replacing your water heater, look for high-efficiency models.


MGE customers have more appliances and are using more electricity than just 10 years ago.

  • Replace electric clothes dryers with gas.
  • Refrigerators older than 1990 can use three times as much electricity as new ones.
  • Anything with a remote control, plug-in power supply or clock display uses electricity even when it is switched off.
  • Always look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new appliances.


While important to control high humidity in basements, dehumidifiers can cost as much as $50 per month to operate. Look for ways to control moisture and reduce dehumidifier run time.

  • Vent clothes dryers to the outside.
  • Check gutter and downspout drainage.
  • Slope soil away from foundation.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing a new dehumidifier.


  • Replace incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR®-certified LED bulbs.
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Maintain security outdoors and reduce energy use with motion sensor lighting.