We live in an era that is marked by unending innovations and technology that seems to move everything. As with any influx of new innovations or technology; greater responsibilities arise to regain balance between the product and user. Most importantly, we have a responsibility to keep our green Earth happy and healthy.
The amount of energy needed to keep societies functional is one example of new innovation that demands a great responsibility. Each user has had the responsibility to be energy efficient thrust upon them. It is great to be in this generation where a responsibility is placed on you by innovations, yet more innovations help in your journey to fulfill these responsibilities.
Take a moment to stop and imagine what our world would be like if everyone was geared towards seeing our Earth become a better place and how lovely would that be. The good news is that it doesn’t take much work to change the environment. In fact, you can make one simple, even miniscule change to your daily life to cause an impact on the environment.
One example of changes that you can make to better the environment is to build energy efficient homes. At the very least, you can take steps to increase your home’s energy efficiency through various means. Thankfully, there are no shortage of energy saving methods that can help consumers counteract their energy use and save money along the way.
If you are looking to have a greener home, this article gives you 10 tips to help you achieve your goal. As a small disclaimer, a few of these energy saving methods may be expensive but bear in mind that they will really pay off in the long run. The other tips in this list involve making a small change to your everyday lifestyle.
1. Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Surprising enough, your showerheads can play a great role in ensuring your home is more energy efficient. By simply installing low-flow showerheads, you will be optimizing your home’s water use.
Showerheads that are considered “low-flow” have a water flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute). To put this into perspective, most conventional showerheads use 5 gallons of water per minute.
With low-flow showerheads installed, the water flow rate is optimized, giving you the same amount of water pressure with minimal energy usage.
2. Reduce Your Thermostat
One incredibly simple way to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to embrace the idea of reducing your temperature’s thermostat while you’re not home. Even reducing the temperature of your home by only three to five degrees when you are away can have a big impact on your utility bill.
In fact, studies conducted by the Department of Energy show that you will have approximately 1% energy usage for each degree adjustment per 8 hours on your thermostat. The department of energy also recommends setting the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees lower than usual for 8 hours per day, producing an annual energy saving of 10%.
3. Turn off Water when it is Not Needed
Being more prudent with your water use can save up to $170 every year according to The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Being conscious of your household’s water usage is not as hard as it sounds. You only have to be aware and avoid scenarios that rack up your water use, like keeping the water running while you’re shaving or brushing your teeth.
This same principle can also be applied to doing your laundry or bathing, allowing you to create an energy efficient home without spending a fortune on energy efficient appliances.
For instance, be mindful of the amount of space your washer has and try to plan your load size around the space available. If you can fit all of your clothes into one large load instead of multiple smaller loads, for example. Make sure your washer has enough space to run and that the water fully covers the clothes, otherwise they won’t be cleaned adequately and will require you to rerun the wash, which defeats the purpose of saving energy.
The point is, try to condense your laundry in such a way that will reduce the amount of loads to wash.
4. Close Every Air Leak in All Your Windows
Another great energy saving technique is to routinely check your windows and doors for cracks that let outside air into the home and repair the seal. In a case where you have a drafty window, you could add weather-stripping adhesive around the frames. You can also use silicone caulk on any cracks in your drywall or put a sheet of shrink film on your windows. Closing up cracks and gaps in areas that allow outside air in the home is an incredibly simple and cheap way to reduce energy costs.
5. Substitute Incandescent Bulbs
With a goal to have a more energy efficient home, you should look into making the switch to energy efficient lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), Halogen bulbs, and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are a few well-known examples of energy efficient lightbulbs. These lightbulbs give out longer lasting light (meaning they won’t have to be replaced as often) and are far more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.
On average, American households have about 40 to 45 bulbs which, when replaced by energy efficient light bulbs, can save up to $180 per year. It goes without saying that you can save a good amount of money on your electricity bills when you choose “greener” bulbs.
6. Perform an Energy Audit
It is always a good idea to get an estimate of the wastes and energy inefficiencies of your home, regardless of having a goal for a greener home or to simply save money. Reaching out to a professional energy service to get an audit for your home’s energy usage should be a priority. Energy auditors can pinpoint specific locations of your home that are wasting energy and give you tips on how to resolve these issues. This way, you will be able to know what to do to use energy more efficiently.
An auditor who is well-grounded and certified will inspect check out your home and its environment to gauge the saving opportunities you are missing out on. Auditors are known for charging based on the square footage of your house but some auditors may charge based on the number of hours they spend on your home. Keep that fact in mind when reaching out to an auditor in your area, so you are aware of their service rate estimates.
7. Limit the Use of Space Heaters
If you are someone who gets cold easily, you may want to cut down on your usage of a space heater to stay warm. Most space heaters use up a whole lot of energy, typically around 1500 watts per day. If you are running one space heater a day that uses 1500 watts of energy you can expect to add an extra $100 dollars to your monthly energy bill. Pretty shocking right?
Therefore, the use of space heaters should be limited. This is not to negate the fact that there are actually some space heaters that are energy efficient. Energy efficient space heaters can be more expensive and you have to be careful in picking out a model and a brand. Instead of using space heaters, you can also consider investing in blankets or thermal layered clothing to keep warm. If you are wondering about an energy efficient space heater, you should research fireplace inserts.
8. Unplug Unused Chargers
You probably don’t think about the energy usage of chargers that are plugged into the outlet but aren’t in use. Each time you plug in a charger that is not in use (be it your cell phone’s charger, laptop charger, or battery chargers), you are essentially creating an energy vampire. Chargers consume energy even without being connected to your phone. When it is done once or twice, it may not reflect in your typical energy consumption. However, when you have several chargers plugged in consistently without being used, they account for 10% of your energy bill. The easy solution to this is to unplug your chargers when you’re not using them.
9. Avoid Washing with Hot Water
Another energy saving trick is to treat hot water like it is sacred. Never use hot water when it is unnecessary, such as when you wash your clothes. Instead of doing laundry in hot water, use cold or lukewarm water, not only will it save you money on the electric bill, but it will also extend the life of your clothes. Using hot water for almost everything sucks up a whole lot of energy. Save the environment by choosing to use cooler water whenever it is possible.
10. Install Solar Panels
Of course, there are some instances where you have to use hot water, like when you are bathing. For these instances, investing in energy efficient appliances, like solar panels, are a great solution. Although solar panels are expensive, they’re quickly gaining popularity for their energy efficient method of heating water and providing electricity for homes.
While expensive, solar panels are worth it in the long run because they can greatly cut down on electric costs. Not to mention the fact that they are environmentally friendly, through discouraging the use of fossil fuels. Another added benefit to solar panels is that they provide annual tax incentives in some cities throughout the US.
They are typically installed on your roof and they reduce your electricity costs by producing energy from the sun’s rays, without any contribution from of your utility company.
There are several ways to make your home more energy efficient. However, if you start your energy saving journey with these tips, we can assure you that you’re already making a big difference—saving the earth and putting more money in your pocket.