From a news release issued by Alliant Energy:

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – October 20, 2009 – October is Energy Awareness Month and Alliant Energy has three easy ways consumers can save energy, and best of all, they require little to no investment. Homeowners can lower their energy bills in three simple steps – turn down the thermostat, trade out traditional light bulbs for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and complete an energy audit.

“A cleaner environment and more sustainable future are important to many homeowners, and Energy Awareness Month is just another reminder that each of us can contribute to a global energy solution by using energy more efficiently,” said Linda Mattes, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables at Alliant Energy. “An added benefit is the money homeowners can save on their energy bill.”

Consumers can save approximately ten percent on their annual heating costs by taking the “10 Degree Challenge.” Simply turn the thermostat down by ten degrees for eight hours each day – and save money while working or sleeping.

After turning the thermostat down a few degrees, another easy and effective place to start saving is with lighting. Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the average home’s electric bill. Using just one ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL can save an average of $30 or more in electricity costs over its lifetime and prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

CFLs save money by using 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than their old-fashioned counterparts. Because they produce more light than the traditional incandescent light bulbs, customers should purchase a CFL with a lower wattage to get the same amount of light.

Once a homeowner has looked at their thermostat settings and lighting, they can address the rest of the home with an energy audit. My Home Comfort Check Up, a free online audit, helps customers identify where their energy dollars are going. Homeowners can complete the online survey by visiting