All of the tools on the My Energy Plan website can help you implement your energy plan, but what if you need a little help getting started in creating a plan? You've come to the right place! The Personal Energy Planner can help you map out an energy plan for your household, by suggesting actions you can take in your home that will reduce your environmental impact and save you money.

You don't need to select every action in the Personal Energy Planner. Choose the actions that are right for your household. Actions can be "scheduled" over a two year time period. You may want to buy a more efficient car or a new refrigerator, but know you can't do so for another year or two. No problem. Just put it on your energy "To Do" list and come back and update your plan when you're ready to act.

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An energy plan focused first on efficiency and conservation steps puts you on the path toward renewables.


1. Determine Your Starting Point:

Sure, it's a bit like stepping on the bathroom scale, but in order to track your progress you'll need to know your starting point. We use an estimate of your carbon footprint as the reference point and measure your footprint and actions to reduce it in pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Since the goal of My Energy Plan is to help you use less carbon-based fossil fuels, measuring your progress in pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced is a good indicator of how you're doing.

We'll need some information about your household and an estimate of how much fuel and electricity you use each year in order to measure your footprint and give you a reasonable estimate of what you could save (in dollars and carbon dioxide) from taking each action. If you don't know how much fuel you consume our fuel tool can help you estimate.


2. Select Actions to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

We've selected and categorized actions according to how we use energy in our homes. We have a vehicles, home heating, electricity, and recycling sector as well as a catch-all "Other" category. Actions in the other category aren't explicitly measured in terms of their savings in dollars or CO2, but these actions are nevertheless key to reducing our environmental impact.

To view these sectors and consider actions to take, just click on the items below Tab 2: Lower your Carbon Footprint:

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A few things to note:

1. We've selected three actions in each sector to highlight, but you can see more actions by clicking the button:   show more
2. Schedule an action by selecting an option in the pull-down list under the "Your Selection" column. You'll then see a status icon appear in the "Status" column:   selection box
3. As you select actions to add to your energy plan, keep an eye on the progress meter, as it will give you an up-to-date total of your projected yearly savings. For example:   progress mter

3. Review Your Action Plan

Now we're in the homestretch!

After you've selected the actions that make sense for your family, click on Tab 3: View Your Action Plan to look over your plan. You can edit your plan by returning to Step 2 and making any needed changes. If you've created a login account with us, your plan will remain on-line and available to you the next time you return to the website. You can also print out a copy of your energy plan. Maybe put it on your refrigerator as a reminder and a way to get everyone in your family on board? And spread the word to your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers and encourage them to create their own energy plan.


4. Implement Your Plan

It may seem obvious, but a plan by itself doesn't generate any savings in either energy or money. Follow-through is essential!


5. Come Back Often and Track Your Progress

If you haven't created a login account with us to save your information, please do so under the Next Steps tab. It enables us to track your information and progress, and in the Fall 2010, we'll have a nifty way to show you visually how you're doing through our soon to be released Energy Notebook.

We hope you'll return often to our site to update your energy plan. As you implement actions your fuel usage should decline. Make sure you update your fuel usage numbers as that will trigger a reduction in your carbon footprint. You should also update your actions periodically, marking actions, for example, that you've selected as "I will do this now" to "I've already done this".

We welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas for improving the Personal Energy Planner!