a plug, or in a socket and are an inexpensive way to control the amount of time a light stays on, either inside the home or outdoors. Photo sensors measure the ambient light level in an area and turn on an electric light when the level drops below a set minimum. They are most effective with outdoor fixtures that need to respond to changing levels of daylight during the year. Motion detectors or other occupancy sensors save energy by turning off lights when rooms such as bathrooms or common areas are empty. Dimmers save energy by allowing building occupants to adjust the light output to suit their needs.

Appliances account for around 20 percent of an American household's energy consumption, with refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers consuming the most energy. New ENERGY STAR appliances are vastly more efficient than the models of ten or twenty years ago, saving water, energy, and money in operating costs.

Because appliances last a long time (ten to twenty years, depending on the appliance), it is important to buy wisely. If tenants pay their own energy bills, installing energy-efficient appliances helps improve their overall economic situation. If the property owner pays the utility bills, efficient appliances reduce overall operating costs. For example, in Oregon, a partnership between Portland General Electric and Web Service Company, Inc., is supplying approximately 750 energy- and water-efficient Maytag Neptune washing machines to multifamily facilities. These washers are expected to save the apartment owners 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electric power and 10 million gallons of water annually. The combined electric, water, and sewer bill savings are estimated to be $185,000 a year, or about $250 per machine.5

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