Tips for a Greener Home
on June 27th, 2012 Category: Articles Tags: Green Living
Eco-Friendly, Carbon Footprint, Global Warming and Energy Efficient. These catch phrases have become part of our vocabulary as we have become more aware of our impact on the environment and our role in protecting it. As a homeowner, there are some simple and inexpensive steps you can take to make your home energy-efficient. Once you start, you will find it is pretty easy to make “green” choices.
Change your light bulbs
By replacing just five incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, you can save $100 per year on electric bills while using 76% less energy and remove greenhouse gases from the environment. The compact fluorescent bulbs are available to replace regular light bulbs, flood lights and recessed lighting.
Buy ENERGY STAR® Appliances
Energy Star qualified appliances, such as refrigerators, washer, dryers, air conditioners, hot water heater and furnaces, meet a higher level of energy efficient set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy than standard models. According to the Energy Star, if just one in ten homes used Energy Star-qualified appliances, the impact could be compared to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees. And, switching to these appliances is not only good for the environment, but easy on your pocketbook. Although these appliances may cost a little more to purchase, you can recude your energy bill up to $80 per year, per appliance.
Cracks and air leaks represent cash seeping from your doors and windows. Get rid of the air leeks in doors, windows and other cracks by caulking the gaps. This will help decrease your heating and air conditioning bill. But make sure to use silicone sealants as acrylic caulk tends to shrink, while silicone sealants are waterproof and won’t shrink or crack.
Tip – when using caulk, you can make the clean up easier by applying masking or painting tape to the areas around the window, door, and even tubs and then place the caulk where it is needed. Pull the tape away and you have a clean line.
Use less water
Did you know that roughly 60% of a home’s water consumption takes place in the bathroom? The largest culprit is the toilet, which accounts for 27% of your household supply every year. By installing low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets, you can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In addition, replace leaky fixtures. That slow dripping faucet can waste as much as 2,400 gallons of water per year.
Adjust the thermostat
When setting your home’s thermostat, the rule of thumb should be: turn up the dial in the summer and down in the winter. Lowering the temperature by just one degree will reduce your electric and gas bill. If you use a programmable thermostat, you can program your air-conditioner and heating systems to reduce output while no one is home or at night while you sleep. Ceiling fans are also helpful in circulating air to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Going green does not have to be overwhelming or costly. By making just a few small changes within your home, you can help decrease energy consumption and help make the world a little “greener”.
Photo courtesy of Shira Golding