Making your home more energy efficient is often as simple as pulling a plug - unplugging appliances when they are not in use can save $70 per year on your electricity bill. Read these tips for more easy ways you can save money and reduce your impact on the environment...
Installing a programmable thermostat to keep air conditioning at 78 degrees F when it's hot outside and your heating system at 68 degrees F when it's cold can help save up to 20% in heating and cooling costs - or $100 a year on your energy bill. If every family in the US did thes, we would reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds.
Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs, so turn your water heater down to 120 degrees or the "Normal" setting when home and to the lowest setting when away. Also consider wrapping your water heater in an insulated blanket. You'll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
According to climatecrisis.org, energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) last 10 times longet than regular incandescent bulbs, use 60% less energy and can save 75% of lighting costs. If every American home replaced five incandescent bulbs with five CFL bulbs, we would save as much as $6.5 billion a year in electricity costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from more than eight million cars.
Use a sprinkler timer. Timers will automatically shut off your sprinkler system after a set period so you dont have to remember. Also use sprinklers that emit large drops of water, low and close to the ground (not the sidewalk or street), and water early in the morning. THis will ensure that the water soaks into the soil instead of evaporating.
The decision to switch to green energy (wind or solar-powered) should be made on a cost-by-cost, region-by-region basis. CIBC World Markets reports that buying a solar system can yield homeowners a 6% return on their investment and take 16 years to pay off. Depending on the state you live in, you may also be eligible for a refund or other incentive when you use solar energy.
Making your home more energy efficient is not only good for the environment-its good for your bank balance. ABC News reports that the average family spends $2,000 a year on energy bills, and simply heating and cooling their homes accounts for half of that bill. Sealing your home's "envelope" - ensuring that walls, floors, ceilings, and the roof are well insulated - can save up to 10% on your annual energy bill and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
Whether you are remodeling your current home or designing a new one, you have a great opportunity to incorporate some green design principles into your space...
Buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment - they are up to 40% more efficient.
Showers account for 32% of home water use, so consider installing a high-efficiency or low-flow showerhead. Also, get those leaky fixtures repaired and save up to 20 gallons of water per day (or 200 gallons per day if it is a defective toilet).
According to Domino magazine, 4.7 billion pounds of carpet is dumped into landfills annually because its synthetic components can't be recycled. What's more, synthetic rugs and carpets can release harmful fumes in your home for weeks after installation. Try using carpets and rugs made from natural fibers, which can often be recycled.
Look for wallpaper made from fast-growin, renewable resources or recycled paper. It takes 70-90% less energy to make recycled paper and prevents deforestation worldwide.
When painting walls, make sure you buy just enough paint to eliminate waste. Use an online paint calculator (try www.artsparx.com/paintcalculator.html) to help determine the right amoint for the job.
Plant trees on the east and west side of your house to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. THe right tree in the right place can reduce the sun's heat by 20-50%, and evergreen trees, shrubs and vines can offer natural insulation in the winter. For resources, go to www.gardeners.com and www.gardensalive.com.
Avoid heavily packaged products to reduce waste and cut down on carbon emissions. Also, check into the products you're buying for your home and see how eco-friendly they are. Try www.thedailygreen.com.
Copyright © 2009 Ally Maize