5 Tips To Make Your Home More Green
Of all the energy consumed in the United States every year, 40 percent is consumed by homes and businesses and most of that is from fossil fuels. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the average American will spend $2,000 each year on electric alone. You could be saving up to $400 a year by making simple energy improvements that don’t cost a lot of money up front and make your home more green. Making your home green not only saves money, but it also reduces overall waste and pollution on the planet.
Swap your Old Bulbs for CFLs
ENERGY STAR reports that the average household spends 12% of their energy costs on lighting. Compact fluorescent lights, also known as CFLs, can last up to ten times longer than traditional bulbs. This reduces how frequent the bulbs need to be replaced. They also use less energy and produce significantly less heat than incandescent bulbs. New lighting can reduce the amount of energy you need to light your home by up to 75 percent.
Gaps around your home allow heat to escape during the winter, which results in higher energy costs than necessary. Purchase weather stripping or caulk from a hardware store and seal up any cracks or gaps, specifically those around windows and doorways. The attic is another location where heat can escape, so thoroughly check any areas where you think there might be drafts or any chance of heat escaping. Replacing an old, leaky window could reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 24 percent.
Stop the Leaks and Save the Rain
Dripping water might not seem like a big deal. After all, it’s only a couple drops, right? Actually, the EPA estimates that the average household with a leak can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water every year. Purchase rainwater barrels to collect rain water to use for gardens or your lawn. This is a green alternative to allowing the water to run off into the street and gutters and is especially crucial in dry climates and those facing moderate to severe drought conditions.
Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances
Of all the appliances in your home, the top three culprits for energy usage are your refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer. Other appliances such as air conditioners, dishwashers and ovens also contribute to energy costs. For example, the EPA estimates that a standard refrigerator costs up to $150 a year to run, while a newer Energy Star appliance will only cost about $60 due to new technology and efficiency. Replace old appliances with those that are certified as Energy Star, which ensures that the manufacturer has done tests to verify that water and electricity consumption are reduced.
Solar panels are great for reducing energy consumption and are becoming more affordable as time goes on. Solar power costs have dropped 60 percent since 2011. The upfront costs of the panels can be pricey at first, but there are a variety of tax incentive programs that can help. Some companies also allow you to lease panels instead of buying them, which also eliminates the need for you to maintain them. Solar panels tend to pay for themselves within 10 to 20 years and also increase the value of your home if you decide to sell later on. Turning your home green doesn’t have to be costly or even difficult. Gradually make changes and you’ll start to see the savings accumulate with every change you make to save money and do your part to help reduce energy consumption.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading supplier of carbon, alloy and stainless steel in pipe, tube, fittings and flanges.