For eco-conscious home owners, the great news is that you do not have to make major sacrifices to both protect the planet and also reduce your utility bills. Today, any home can become greener, resulting in long-term cost savings. While there is no one secret to saving energy within the home, a few small changes can certainly go a long way. Here are a few of our best tips for saving on home energy costs, the smart, practical way.
- Check Your Insulation Levels
One of the first places to begin for reducing energy consumption is a visual inspection of the home, especially your insulation levels. Poorly insulated homes can amount to as much as 20% in lost energy per year. This is energy that you still have to pay for. When insulation is low, heat can escape through ceilings, walls and openings in the attic. Improve insulation by checking their levels every year to ensure your home is protected, keeping the home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
- Address Leaks From Windows & Doors
Also weatherize your home further by fixing drafty windows and doors during your yearly inspection. Check the seals on windows and doors for visible gaps and then visit a local hardware store for inexpensive solutions. For instance, seal gaps where air flow is escaping. This may include caulking any places where air is escaping. The same is true for doors which may have gaps that need to be sealed. Taking such preventative measures will help you lower your utility bill and waste less energy.
- Smarter Water Consumption
Hot water systems are one of the biggest consumers of energy within the home. To reduce the amount of hot water you use, rely on more cold water to fulfill activities. For instance, wash more clothes in cold water or take cooler showers. You can also use less water in general to reduce your energy bill. For instance, install a low flow showerhead which costs anywhere from $10-$20 to greatly reduce your water flow. For additional cost savings, time yourself and also take shorter showers. Less water usage means lower costs for your monthly bill.
- Better Use of Lighting
Another great way to save on energy costs around the home is to install either LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These energy efficient bulbs last longer than traditional incandescent lighting. What’s more is that you do not have to install new bulbs all at once. You can simply install one at a time as your older bulbs go out. Replacing light bulbs is an inexpensive fix for savvy homeowners who are ready to save money through environmentally sustainable practices. Furthermore, always remember to turn lights off every time you leave a room. This is a highly effective way to reduce your energy bills and with minimal effort.
- Alternative Heating & Cooling
When it comes to heating and cooling the home, you do not have to solely rely on your thermostat. Instead employ simple, but practical methods to heat and cool the home. For instance, during the winter, close shades and curtains to block cold drafts. This will help to maintain warm temperatures within the home. Alternatively, during the day open shades to control sunlight, using it for both natural lighting and warmth. During the summer months open windows to allow cool air to stream inside instead of running the air conditioner. You can also rely on ceiling or standing fans used in short intervals to stay cool. In short, only use your thermostat when necessary for the best energy conservation within the home.
- Efficient Use of Electricity
When it comes to electricity use, there are a few ways to use less energy and reduce your energy bill. First, you can install energy efficient appliances throughout the home. Appliances that feature the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star logo are an excellent option for eco-friendly living. While these appliances may require an upfront investment, in the long-term they can reduce energy use by up to 15%, resulting in noticeable long-term savings. If new appliances are not an option, simply unplug unused appliances when not in use. This is because items that remained plugged in are still drawing electricity. This is known as a “phantom load”. Devices that are not in use, but still plugged in represent wasted energy that you are still paying for. Therefore, switch off and unplug appliances like televisions, computers, and chargers to realize more savings.
- Plant Greenery
Lastly, landscaping the smart way—by planting greenery like trees and shrubs around the home—can help to reduce your cooling bill in the summer anywhere from $100-$250 per year. This is because trees and shrubbery help to create natural shade that will keep your home cooler naturally, blocking out the sun. What’s more is that shrubs and bushes can create natural insulation around the home which also helps to keep more heat inside during winter. And what better way to reduce your carbon footprint than by planting greenery that will directly contribute to the environment and local ecosystem?
Saving energy around the home is easy. By following these simple tips you can save on your next energy bill while also making your home more comfortable. For the most eco-conscious lifestyle, try any of these suggestions to conserve energy at home—the smart way.