Brad Pitt Talks Utilities + 14 Ways to Cut Cold Weather Costs

Brad’s got some advice on how to cut your utilities from $300 to $30. 

Remember that hoopla a couple months ago when Brad Pitt fessed up to spending the majority of the 90s surfing the couch with a spliff in his hand? The juiciest bit of that interview, covered by gossip rags and I do believe CNN, was that he maybe inadvertently dissed his ex-wife. But the most interesting quote was buried at the end of the interview.

Talking about his houses in New Orleans, he claimed that, “People…who were used to dealing with $300 electric bills, are now paying $30, sometimes nothing.”

Now that is news worth reporting. Why? Because it’s based in reality.

We all have bills to pay and it sucks to fork out more to energy companies than we have to because of shoddy construction or, worse yet, significant failings on our part.

“You build it tight, sealing it; you build in the direction of the sun and the wind; and you use solar and water collection. It’s not that hard to do.”

Brad Pitt, thank you for pointing that out. You’re so sexy and smart.

Well, EcoSalon. You’re quite the looker, too.

Oh, stop flirting.

The next time you find yourself building a house from the ground up, we know that you’ll be taking Brad’s advice. In the meantime, here are 14 other ways to make the abodes in which we reside now more energy efficient this winter so that we, too, can save beaucoup bucks like Brad.

1. Unplug: roughly 75 percent of energy consumed by home appliances occurs while they’re turned off but still plugged in.

2. Drop the Thermostat: every degree you lower in winter and raise in summer can reduce your heating and cooling bills by 1 percent or more. Per the EPA, a programmable thermostat that allows you to set temperatures for different times of day can save you about $150 a year.

3. Get a Blanket: If your water heater is more than seven years old, wrap it up in an insulation blanket to prevent the release of up to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.

4. Insulate Your Pipes: if your pipes are warm to the touch, insulate them and you’ll end up paying less for hot water. Hardware stores offer pre-slit pipe foam.

5. Close Off Drafts: sealing drafts and upping insulation can reduce your bills by up to 20 percent, per the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Clean Your Furnace Filters: a dirty filter restricts airflow and increases energy demand. Not very sexy, but pretend we’re Tyler Durden.

7. Double the Pane: replacing single-pane windows with energy-efficient double panes can reduce your heating costs by up to one-third. Or get an air-trapping door sweep, which is really cheap.

8. Get Better Bulbs: a quarter of our energy used goes to lights. Per the U.S. Dept. of Energy, if every household replaced one traditional bulb with an energy-efficient CFL, we would save $600 million in utility bills. For us, that’s a $30 savings for each bulb.

That was nice, but you know what really turns me on? Insulation.

9. Neutralize Your Footprint: for every pound of carbon dioxide your home releases, you can fund an environment-friendly endeavor that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air. They’re called offsets, which can be calculated and purchased at and

10. Swing Both Ways: a ceiling fan set to rotate counterclockwise creates warm air because air pooled near the ceiling (remember: heat rises) is circulated back into the living space, which could save you 10% on heating costs.

11. Use Storm Windows and Doors: installing them can increase your energy efficiency by 45%.

12. DIY Insulation: also very cheap are seal it yourself window insulation kits.

13. Buy an Energy Monitor: TED (The Energy Detective) is expensive, but according to the company you’ll save 15%-20% on each bill, which could amount to hundreds of dollars each year.  

14. Grow a sweater.

You don’t get more energy efficient than this.

Images: Arch Digest; Parade; IMDB; The Washington Post


K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.