Being “green” is more than just a passing fad; it’s a way of reducing your footprint in order to leave a better environment for future generations. Using energy more wisely is a great way to make your home greener. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent varieties. Not only do these funky-looking bulbs use far less electricity than the incandescent bulbs you probably grew up using, but they have a much longer lifespan–many will last three years or longer! Despite their slightly higher cost, the money you will save on your electric bill, along with the reduced frequency of bulb changes, will easily pay for the higher initial investment.
2. Replace a water heater tank with a tankless option. Keeping 30 to 80 gallons of water hot and ready for use takes loads of energy, which is certainly reflected on your electric or gas bills each month. Rather than storing hot water, tankless heaters heat water as you need it, making them a much greener option when it comes to energy consumption.
3. Use solar panels to generate some of your home’s power. You can set up panels that attach to your home’s regular grid system, or you can use them to power or heat specific items, such as a pool or hot tub. While the initial investment in solar panels can be steep, you may qualify for tax credits that offset some of the cost. Solar energy also adds value to your home and reduces your dependence on your utility company’s power grid.
4. Hang clothes outside to dry. Clothes dryers not only use gas or electricity to produce the heat that dries your clothing, but they add excess heat to your house, making your air conditioning system work harder during the summer. Especially during the warmest months of the year, using a clothes line can reduce the cost of cooling your home and save energy. If you have trouble getting used to the texture of line-dried towels and clothing, tumble them for 10 minutes on air-dry.
5. Replace energy-hogging appliances with efficient versions. Old refrigerators, deep freezes, air conditioners and other appliances use far more power than their modern counterparts. While it may not be possible to swap every appliance in your home for a new one, making smart choices as your old appliances fail can definitely help you to have a greener home. Look for the Energy Star logo when choosing a new model to ensure that your purchase is truly efficient.
6. Install and use a programmable thermostat. These devices allow you to increase or decrease the temperature of your home automatically when you are at work or school, reducing the cost of heating and cooling your home as well as your energy consumption. You can set the thermostat to return to more comfortable temperatures upon your arrival, so you probably won’t even notice the difference.
Creating a greener home is a great way to save you money while helping the planet. Implement these ideas into your own house, and take heart in knowing that you are contributing to a better tomorrow.