From selecting the right appliances to ditching old school lightbulbs, adopting a sustainable lifestyle truly begins at home. In fact, incorporating eco-friendly practices have a significant financial return as well. By lowering your monthly utility bills, going green might save you some green for your wallet. Here are seven simple ways to reduce your home’s energy footprint and save some cash on your bills too.
1) Upgrading Appliances
While the upfront cost may be higher, the national standards for energy efficiency are constantly improving the environmental performance of appliances, so the next time your old refrigerator needs repairs, it might be time for an updated model. Ovens are a big one to upgrade as well. Trading in your old appliances can save energy and money on utilities and repairs.
2) Using Water Wisely
Water heating can account for around 13% of all the energy your home uses. Dial the temperature of your water heater down to its warm setting (120°F), and you’ll save on water heating costs. You can also avoid a surprise hot water scalding. You can also try washing your clothes with cold water instead of warm or hot water and save up to five times more energy—your clothes will never know the difference.
3) Installing Smart Thermostats
When you use a programmable thermostat correctly, you can save up to $150 a year. Look for a thermostat that can automatically turn off your air conditioning when you’re not home and turn it back on just in time for you to arrive to a cool and comfortable home. Even setting your thermostat for just a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter will help save energy and utility costs. Also, consider smart WiFi thermostats that you can control from your smartphone wherever you are, even when you’re not home.
4) Swapping Out Light Bulbs
Lighting can account for up to 10% of your total home energy cost. Swapping standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can save you up to 75% on utility bills. CFLs last longer too, saving you money on replacements and trips to the hardware store.
In addition, be sure to pay attention to where you’re placing lamps, especially if you’re still using incandescent bulbs since they give off more heat than CFL bulbs. If you have lamps near your thermostat, it can wind up making your cooling system run longer than needed since the thermostat senses the heat. Keep lamps (and large electronics like TVs and computers) placed as far away as possible from your thermostat.
5) Keeping Curtains Drawn
Thermal curtains or shades can help keep your home cooler in the summer and keep heat in more efficiently in the winter. On a hot and sunny day, keeping window coverings drawn will block out the heat from the sun, saving you on air conditioning costs.
6) Inspecting Ductwork Annually
A lot of energy goes into maintaining a home's temperature. Avoid wasting cooling and heating energy from blocked or damaged ducts by having your ducts professionally inspected once a year to make sure air is flowing properly, and they’re adequately insulated.
7) Landscaping For Energy Savings
A beautifully landscaped property isn’t just for curb appeal. Talk with a professional landscaping company about how placing trees and shrubs strategically around your home can save you on heating and cooling costs.
Insider's tip: Local professionals can perform a thermographic inspection to detect any air leaks in your home and make recommendations to make your home even more efficient. If you need help finding an energy pro in the DMVA or have questions about your home’s energy-saving potential, please get in touch!