Welcome to week two of our three-part series on making your home greener. Last week you learned why every homeowner should do an energy audit of their home. This week I’ll give you eight easy ways to save energy at home.
Believe it or not, even small changes to your home can significantly impact your energy use (and your bills!). Here are some minor DIY fixes you can knock out in a weekend! Every item on this list is easy to implement and inexpensive.
Program Your Thermostat
Although more than 40% of Americans own a programable thermostat, only a fraction are correctly programmed at any given time. Take advantage of your technology! Spend half an hour getting to know your device— consult the user’s manual!
If you don’t already have one, buy one! Modern technology allows you to schedule your home’s energy use according to your daily routine, so you’re not wasting energy when you’re asleep or at work. You’d be surprised at the technology available today. There are products in every price range that include features such as motion sensors, remote control, and smartphone-compatible technology. You’ll never again wonder if you remembered to turn off the lights.
Switch to a Smart Power Strip for Your Electronics
Traditional power strips are super convenient, but they encourage us to keep many electronics plugged in round-the-clock. That means your electronics and appliances constantly use power, even when you’re not using them. It’s time to leave your old, yellowed power strips in the dust and look into a “smart” power strip.
Smart strips will shut down power to products when they go on standby mode. This could save you 5 to 10% of your energy consumption.
Install the Correct Lightbulbs for Your Needs
Installing efficient lighting in your home is one of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average household saves $225 annually by using LED lighting. Iridescent lighting is a thing of the past. Next time you change your bulbs, switch to LED.
Air Dry Linens and Clothing
The Europeans do it, so why can’t we? Air drying your clothing saves a ton of electricity and is better for your clothing. If you can extend the life of your clothing and linens, that’s another win for the planet!
Get in the habit of hanging your clothes on a foldable drying rack rather than in the dryer. Your clothes, your utility bill, and the environment will thank you!
Utilize Your Ceiling Fans
Fans are a low-energy way to keep air circulating. You can keep your temperature set higher in the summer and lower in the winter and still feel comfortable in your home.
Insulate Exposed Water Pipes
Wrap your hot water pipes in the basement or garage with pipe insulation. This way, the water won’t lose heat as it reaches your faucets. It can make a two to four-degree difference.
Double Check Vents
Walk around your home and make sure you’re not blocking your air vents with furniture, decorations, etc. You want hot and cold air to circulate efficiently, so you don’t have to turn the A/C on 24/7.
Plant a Tree
Who doesn’t love a weekend outing to the local plant nursery? Planting a tree is a fun way for your family to help offset your carbon footprint! Plants add oxygen to our air, reduce storm runoff, and provide food and shelter for dozens of wildlife species. Furthermore, if you’re strategic with your planting, a tree can shade your home to help keep it naturally cool.
If you want to plant trees in your yard but need help figuring out where to start or how to afford it, you’re in luck! Read next week’s article to learn about local programs that help you with the cost and planning. Some programs even do the planting for you!
For even more ideas on how to save energy at home, check out my previous articles or ask me directly
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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