Eight Tips for Greening Your Home for Less
A home is a major investment and although many homeowners may want to invest in energy efficient windows and solar panels, for some, it may be too much of an expense. But, it’s still possible to green your home by following these eight greening tips that can be done for less than $100.
1. Do an Energy Audit
Any serious discussion of making home improvements must begin with an Energy Audit. It gives you the information you need to make sound decisions. Every homeowner should have an Energy Audit conducted on their homes every ten years.
2. Reduce Your Water Consumption
The EPA’s WaterSense program certifies and labels bathroom faucets and faucet accessories as meeting the program’s strict water-saving standards. A growing list of faucets including brand names such as Delta, Moen, and Price Pfister are available for the homeowner who wants to replace a water-hogging faucet with one that meets or exceeds WaterSense’s 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm) standard.
For the most affordable water control product, you can’t beat an aerator. WaterSense-certified aerators and flow regulators are easily installed. With faucet accessories that reduce water flow to as little as 0.375 gpm, a household can experience payback in less than a month. Furthermore, the aerator is one of the easiest products to install. Low-flow showerhead and a pressure-compensating shower control valve will reduce water flow to anywhere from 2.0 to 1.5 gpm. These products can be found for under $20.
3. Turn off the lights
If you or others in your household are forgetful, install movement sensors so lights only activate when needed. Another way to save energy is to install automatic timers for lights frequently left on in empty rooms.
4. Seal Your Home
Your Energy Audit will measure the leakage rate of your home and point out the common culprits; windows, doors and electrical boxes. Plug, insulate, replace, repair, caulk, or seal to make your home as leak-proof as possible, and watch your utility bills drop. Some of this the homeowner can do but most of us will need an expert to find and seal all the various places a home can leak.
5. Switch to CFL or LED Light Bulbs
These bulbs, now available to fit virtually any light fixture, use just a fraction of the electricity of regular incandescent bulbs. Plus, they last many times longer. Replacing the top five old-style fixtures with the new fixtures specifically designed for the energy saving light bulbs can save about $70 each year in energy costs.
6. Set Cooling and Heating Temperatures
Refrigerators should be set at 37F, freezers at -3F. Be sure to close the fridge and freezer doors. Leaving them open for just a few extra seconds wastes a lot of energy. If you don’t already have one, get an electronic thermostat and program it to keep your home at a lower temperature while the family sleeps and return it to a toastier temperature before you get out of bed. In the winter, set your thermostat at 68F in the day and 55F at night. In the summer, keep it above 78F. Conventional water heaters work best between 120F and 140F.
7. War on Vampires
Energy Vampires are those devices that continue to draw electricity even after you shut them off. Electronic appliances, including TVs, computers, and CD players can consume almost as much energy when in standby mode as they do during the relatively small amount of time they’re being used.
8. ENERGY STAR Appliances
Wait for a full load before turning on the washing machine, dryer, or dishwasher. Clear the lint filter after every dryer load and air-dry clothes when weather allows. Use the air-dry function on your dishwasher. Preheat your oven only when necessary. Most of all, if you are going to replace that worn-out, energy guzzling appliance anyway, select a product that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. It gives you assurance that it delivers exceptional features while using less energy.
An Energy Audit can help determine the energy efficiency of your home. It’s the logical place to start.