Living a more sustainable lifestyle requires small, but significant, changes. Creating more energy-efficient home spaces is the first step in reducing your carbon footprint. Saving energy at home doesn’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle, though. Making simple adjustments to your current situation can have a huge impact on the environment.
Here are some tips on how to save energy and money at home:
1. Passive Solar
Passive solar utilizes heat generated from the sun to warm an interior space without any mechanization. South-facing windows and skylights are examples of passive solar techniques.
Depending on the orientation of your house, try to conserve heat in sunny rooms during the winter months and keep the blinds closed during the summer. Maximize the available natural sunlight, especially in transition areas like garages, between outdoor and indoor living spaces.
2. LED Lighting
Saving energy and money can be as easy as switching a lightbulb. LED lights are not only much more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they also last longer and are more cost-effective over their lifetime.
3. Green-Rated Appliances
Look for green certifications such as ENERGY STAR® when it’s time to buy new appliances. While it may be hard to invest a little more upfront, the money you save from buying a more efficient machine will pay for itself in no time.
4. Wash Using Cold Water
Some 75% of the energy required to do a load of laundry is spent heating the water. By washing using cold water, you not only save energy, but you also prolong the life of your clothing. Washing on cold is also gentler on your clothes and less likely to cause colors to fade.
5. Limit Electronics
Cut down on the number of electronics you “must” have. Only plug in equipment as you need it to ensure you aren’t wasting electricity. If you charge your smartphone at night, try doing so after dinner and unplugging it before you go to bed. Most phones only need an hour or two to charge completely.
6. Upgrade Windows
Poorly sealed windows are one of the most common ways you’ll lose valuable energy. Replacing windows with more energy-efficient models or re-sealing current panes can have a major impact on your utility bills.
7. Plant Trees
Trees are nature’s powerhouses when it comes to saving energy. Planting trees and shrubs around your house can absorb heat in the summer, provide shade on hot days and also store heat in the winter.
8. Green Roofs
Most roofs are made of asphalt shingles, which are inexpensive but have a substantial carbon footprint. They may be cheap, but they need a considerable amount of maintenance and repairing them can be costly.
Depending on your climate, utilizing a green roof can reduce the cost of utility bills by reducing the impact of direct solar heat from the sun. Even adding a green roof to your garage or sunroom roof can have a significant impact.
9. Change HVAC Filters
Most people don’t change their HVAC filters as often as they should. Dirty filters require more energy, costing you more money to circulate polluted air. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, clean filters reduce energy consumption by 15%. Make sure to check your filters regularly and replace them when necessary.
Emissions from dryer vents can be toxic. Unless you live in a particularly rainy climate, air-drying your clothes can be a huge benefit. Not only do you save money on electricity, but air-drying is also gentler on your clothes and the planet. Hanging clothes on an old-fashioned clothesline or building a drying rack are simple solutions you can use to save money and energy.
Being Green and Saving Green
Implementing energy-saving designs and techniques not only saves the environment, but it also saves money. From updating lightbulbs to changing HVAC filters, maintaining a green home cuts down on your environmental footprint and your monthly utility bills.