Regularly change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating seasons. New filters usually only cost a few dollars. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment and result in lower indoor air quality.
Install a programmable thermostat to automate your HVAC system. This solid-state, electronic device optimizes HVAC operation "24/7" based on your schedule, and can be "overridden" as needed for unscheduled events. This "smart thermostat" can save money on your utility bill each month while ensuring your home is comfortable and saving energy.
Control direct sun through windows, depending on the season and local climate. During cooling season, block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the East and especially West sides of your home. Depending on your house, options such as "solar screens," "solar films," awnings, and vegetation can help keep your home more cool. Over time, trees can attractively shade the house, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it's best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside. During heating season, with the sun low in the South, unobstructed southern windows can contribute solar heat gained during the day.
Use fans to maintain comfortable temperature, humidity and air movement, and save energy year round. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and/or humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning, and a temperature setting of only three to five degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3 percent on cooling costs. When the temperature outside is more comfortable than inside, a "box fan" in the window, or large "whole facility" fan in the attic can push air out and pull in comfortable air from the outside.
Turn off lights (and other equipment) when not in use. High utility costs often include paying for energy that is completely wasted.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), wherever appropriate. CFLs cost about 75 percent less to operate, and last about 10 times longer.
Install switch plate occupancy sensors in proper locations to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present and back on when people return. Even good equipment can be installed wrong, so don't install the sensor behind a coat rack, door, bookcase, etc. It must be able to "see" an approaching person's motion to turn on the light before or as they enter an unlit area.
Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free "daylight" during the day.