Want Your Home to Be More Energy Efficient? Here’s How…
Going green is a good goal, not only for your carbon footprint but also for your budget. Green living allows you to lower your energy bills and put more money back in your pocket. Thankfully, there are many ways you can make your home more energy-efficient, including both big and little ways, so you can have less of an impact on the environment and enjoy more money in your pocket. Here’s a closer look at some of those options.
Small Projects that Make a Big Difference
First, take a look at these small changes that can add up to big differences in your energy use:
1. Take Control of the Temperature
If you don’t have a smart or programmable thermostat, it’s time to invest in one. Install it, then use it well. At night, lower or raise the temperature, depending on the season, to use less energy. When you’re sleeping, you don’t need to run the AC or heat quite as much. Similarly, change the setting when you’re not at home to keep the home safe, but not quite as warm or cold. While you will need to set the temperature based on your family’s comfort, remember that the Department of Energy states that one degree reduction in temperature will lower your energy bill by one percent.
2. Swap Out the Showerheads
Conventional showerheads use about 5 gallons of water per minute. This means a 10 minute shower can use up to 50 gallons (0.19 cubic meters) of water. Low-flow showerheads use about half that, and are designed to protect your comfort during the shower. Every time you shower, you’ll be cutting your water usage in half.
3. Seal the Windows
If the windows in your home are drafty, you’re sending money out of them every time you run your HVAC. Look for cracks or feel for drafts around the window. Seal them up using weatherstripping or silicone caulk. In the winter, consider shrink wrap film to add another layer of protection over the windows. This is an inexpensive way to ensure your heated and cooled air stays where it is supposed to be — inside your home.
4. Change the Light Bulbs
If you still have incandescent bulbs in your home, it’s time to change. If you’re using CFLs, you may want to consider switching them for LED options, which are slightly more energy efficient. As an added perk, these bulbs last much longer than old incandescent options, so you’ll spend less time and money on replacing burnt-out bulbs.
5. Skip the Hot Water Cycle
Your clothing may not need to be washed on hot. By choosing “warm” or “cool,” you can save quite a bit of energy. Most of the energy sent to the clothes washing process is used to heat water, not run the machine.
In addition to these small ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider these larger projects:
6. Install Solar Panels
While this is definitely on the “big” category, installing solar panels can help you limit your energy use by tapping into the sun’s natural energy. Many utility companies now offer rebates and incentives to help with the installation of solar panels, or you could consider taking out a green loan to help with the initial cost. Over time, solar panels will pay for themselves as you use the sun’s energy to create electricity for your home. Some homes even find they make more energy than they use and can get some money back by selling that energy to the electric company.
7. Add Insulation
Insulation is another investment that can pay off big over time. Adding insulation, particularly to your attic, can help keep your home’s envelope more protected. This will lower your energy consumption by keeping your heated and cooled air inside.
Keeping your home more energy-efficient can be a combination of small changes and some larger investments. In the long run, all of these changes will pay off as you seek to lower your energy bills and lessen your environmental impact at home.
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