You’ve given up bottled water, plastic grocery bags, and paper towels. But are you really doing your best to decrease your environmental footprint? Change starts at home. There are many small, affordable steps we can take to make our homes more efficient. What’s more, every gain in efficiency adds up to money saved by using less energy. Check out these eight simple ways to make your property more eco-friendly.
Trading in your incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs for LEDs can save a tremendous amount of energy and money. Replacing a mere five of these bulbs with Energy Star-approved LED bulbs can save you up to $100 in energy costs each year.
Smart or programmable thermostats maintain a comfortable temperature when you’re at home. They also make sure you don’t waste energy on heating and cooling an empty house while you’re away. This small tweak can save you up to $180 each year on your heating/cooling bills.
Discussions about sustainability often center around energy, but conservation includes water usage. Installing a rain sensor and timer for your irrigation system will help limit your watering to times when your lawn needs it. It also ensures watering is limited to the early morning. You can also save water by planting native plants, such as milkweed and goldenrod. Natives need much less water to thrive. Fixing any leaking faucets and toilets can also yield surprising water savings.
This is the least sexy of all the innovations out there designed to improve home performance. But improved insulation can help keep your home climate comfortable year-round. Blowing cellulose insulation into the attic and walls, installing double-glazed windows, and insulating crawl spaces beneath hardwood floors can cut down on your heating and air conditioning bills.
Naked windows allow a surprising amount of heat loss and gain. Curtains or blinds can help to keep your home cooler in the summer by blocking sun and warmer in the winter by allowing the sun in.
Water heaters use a large amount of energy to keep a full tank of water hot day and night. Turning down the temperature can reduce your energy use a good deal. Better yet, consider replacing your water heater with a tankless, on-demand unit. These units only heat water when you need it, saving space, energy, and ensuring that you never run out of hot water.
Using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot can speed up cooking time by as much as 70 percent, which saves time and energy. You’ll also produce less waste heat in the kitchen, which in the summertime can be a tremendous relief.
Appliances and electronics that are plugged-in tend to continue to use energy even when you’re not using them. Plugging into a power strip makes it easy to power down by just hitting one button.
While none of these actions are very complicated or difficult, they all will result help you save energy and make your house more efficient and eco-friendly. Just think, if every one of us did just a few things on this list, we could put a massive dent in our collective energy use.
Dale Walker owns a sprinkler company. In addition to repairing sprinkler systems, he recently started installing automatic drip irrigation systems to create eco-friendly and maintenance-free lawns.