You don’t have to outfit your home with a blanket of solar panels to be eco-conscious. Many key improvements can be made for cheap or even free.
1. Monitor Your Energy Use
You can reduce your monthly expenses typically by as much as 15%, according to the recent IBM study by knowing how much power you’re actually using and where you can most effectively cut back. Add a plug load monitor to any outlet to monitor how much energy the device is consuming. It helps you devide which ones should be turned off and at what time.
2. Install Dimmer Switches
Consider that by dimming a light by 10 percent more than doubles the bulb’s life, and switches only cost about $10.
3. Add a Motion Sensor
Add a motion sensor to your outdoor lighting fixtures. It turns off the light when nobody’s present, and these are great for the seldom-used areas of your home, like the basement and guest room.
4. Set a Programmable Thermostat
For about $50, it can help you save almost $200 a year by turning down the heat at certain times of day or night. For every degree you lower your thermostat for an eight-hour period, you can cut energy use by about 1%.
5. Buy an Insulating “Blanket”
Insulation blankets provides thermal insulation and condensation, and it also reduces overall energy usage. This $20 investment can lower your water-heating costs by 9%.
6. Install an Energy Star-Rated Ceiling Fan
In cooler months, run the fan in a clockwise direction to push warm air down from the ceiling, reducing HVAC load as much as 10%. And in the summer, reverse the motion to circulate cool air to make the temperature feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
7. Dodge the Draft
Install permanent weather stripping around your windows and doors to seal in heat and keep out of chilly gusts.
8. Install Insulating Window Treatments
Cellular and honeycomb shades will help you reduce both heat loss (up to 86%) and gain up (up to 80%) one fell swoop. These shades start at roughly $20 per window.
9. Replace the Aerator on Your Faucet
An efficient aerator will reduce flow from the usual 2.2 gallons per minute to a thrifty 1.5, which is a big return on a small investment and a good way to conserve an increasingly precious resource for only $5.
10. Keep Dirt and Toxins Out
Just by placing a mat at the front and back doors of your home can cut the amount of pesticide residue tracked inside by 25%.
Finally, How to Go Green for FREE
- Wash in cold water and save up to $40 in hot-water costs a year.
- Clean the lint screen to improve your dryer’s air circulation and speed up drying time; energy usage will drop.
- Remove window AC units during the colder months, when drafts can sneak in and drive up your heating bill.
- Dust the coils behind your refrigerator. If they’re grimy, they won’t transfer heat effectively and will use more energy.
- Put your PC to sleep! By not leaving it on at night, you can save at least $25 each year.
- Unplug electronics when not in use, to stop “phantom” energy draw.