How to save energy at home
July 27, 2017
Imagine slashing your carbon footprint and eliminating your energy bills, all while making your home more comfortable. Sounds great, right? But building a net-zero home, or retrofitting an existing one, can be pricey and time-intensive.
So if you’re wondering what you can accomplish in an evening, a weekend, or just by editing how you do a few things, you’re in luck. Energy efficiency is not a zero-or-nothing proposition. You can move the ball way down the court with a few simple changes.
Here are 10 simple yet meaningful to-dos to get you started…
1. Install a programmable thermostat.
You can save 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs just because you won’t forget to adjust the temp.
2. Work with the sun.
Use curtains and blinds to keep the sun out when you don’t want heat and let it in when you do, and to insulate against heat loss.
3. Maintain heating and cooling systems.
Professional maintenance annually is a must. And be sure to replace the air filters annually, maybe twice if you have pets.
4. Seal windows and doors.
A typical home loses 25 percent of its heat through its windows. Winterize older ones with caulk and heat-shrink plastic. Plastic can reduce heat loss even on newer ones.
5. Reduce water heating.
Lower the temp on your water heater to 120 and install low-flow showerheads. Wash clothes in cold water. (Yes, cold water works.)
6. Use a clothesline.
The dryer is one of the biggest energy hogs in your house. If you don’t have an outdoor line, a fold-up indoor rack works too.
7. Dry smarter.
When only a dryer will do, follow energy-saving practices. Number 1: Use the fastest spin cycle to get the max amount of water out of the clothes.
8. Get LED bulbs.
Replacing five bulbs could cut $75 from your electric bill! Plus, LEDs can last more than 20 years. Start with your most-used lights. Some states have programs that offer free bulbs or rebates. Check out the database at Dsire.org.
9. Use power strips for electronics.
And turn them off regularly. Some equipment and appliances use energy even when idle. Power strips let you turn things off for real, at the outlet.
10. Mind your devices.
Turn off your computer when you’re not using it. A laptop uses a lot less energy than a desktop, so opt for that when you can. And unplug your chargers — they draw energy even when nothing’s charging.
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