Why continue to flush money down the drain when you can save it by implementing these top 10 simple energy saving tips while also creating a healthier environment in your home as well. As an EcoBroker, (see www.ecrobroker.com) I have training and access to a wide array of information that can "green-up" your home. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options for green home renovations, especially the larger, more expensive ones. For a simpler approach to "greening" your home, improving your health, and saving energy and money, consider the following recommendations that you can easily do yourself.
- Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFLs. These bulbs use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and can last up to ten times as
long. By replacing the five most commonly used bulbs in your home, you can save about $70 every year on energy costs. The more you replace, the more you save.
- Unplug appliances, chargers, and electronics you are not using. Vampire power (also called phantom energy) is the energy used by electronics that are turned off. This can account for as much as 10% of your home energy use. To help combat these unused power drains, keep outlets clear as much as possible. In areas where you have several electronics that are commonly used, consider plugging them into a power strip and turning the strip off when they are not in use. This will prevent the energy drain that would occur if they were plugged directly into the wall. Unplug electronics when they are fully charged.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are a great way to lower your energy bills by offering you pre-determined control over your homes heating and cooling schedule. Not only does this save on energy by altering temperature to energy-saving settings while you are away or sleeping, it does it automatically according to your set guidelines allowing you to save energy without even thinking about it. Many models come with a filter sensor that tells you when to change your HVAC filters to further maximize energy efficiency.
- Save water - Put aerators on faucets and install a low-flow shower-head. Aerators attach to your faucet to decrease the water flow while maintaining high pressures. Since faucets make up around 15% of a typical home’s indoor water use, decreasing the water flow on every faucet in your home can easily help save a significant amount of water. Low-flow shower-heads essentially work the same way, minimizing the amount of water you use while running the shower. Look for hardware with the EPA’s Water Sense label for products that are at least 20% more efficient than standard models.
- Recycle. According to the National Recycling Coalition, the average American discards 7.5 lbs. of garbage every day! Recycling not only helps minimize this amount of waste being put into landfills, it helps minimize the use of natural resources and saves energy in manufacturing new products. And the best part is, it’s easy!
- Use eco-friendly cleaners. In 2007, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reported that 15% of all asthma cases were caused by exposure to unsafe cleaning products. To avoid this and other negative effects, look for cleaners with the EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) label or the Green Seal. These products are held to rigorous standards ensuring the safest ingredient in each class (bleach, sterilizer, etc.) is used.
- Fill air leaks with caulking or weather stripping. Cracks around your windows and doors can be a major energy drain on your home as they decrease the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by allowing air to escape. To avoid this problem, apply caulk or weather stripping around windows and doors or other spaces where air may be leaking through.
- Plant a tree to shade your home. Planting a six to eight foot deciduous tree with high spreading crowns on the south side of your home can help increase the efficiency of your air conditioner by up to 10.
- Insulate your hot water heater and furnace. By putting a “blanket” of insulation around your hot water heater and furnace, you can reduce heat loss by 25-45%, reducing your energy bill by 4-9%
- Replace your HVAC filters. Energy Star recommends that you check your filters every month for excess debris that can restrict air flow and cause dust and dirt to enter your ventilation system and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. Filters should be replaced at least every three months or whenever they look dirty to avoid negative health effects and increase your HVAC’s efficiency.