When it comes to creating a “greener” home, it doesn’t always come with great expense! There are lots of low-cost ways to make your home a bit more eco-friendly; and the best part is, many of these changes are also friendly to your wallet. If you are interested in being a better friend to the planet, our homes are a great place to start and here are some inexpensive ways you can do your part.
Seal It Up
Inefficient use of heating and cooling is a major drain on the planet and your wallet. All those little cracks and holes surrounding doors and windows add up to big waste. The simple, inexpensive act of sealing these leaks with caulk and weather stripping can reduce heating and cooling bills significantly.
The traditional incandescent bulb is highly inefficient and switching to different types of lights is a super-green move. While energy-efficient options, such as LEDs, are more expensive, they last up to 25 times longer; coupled with the lower electricity costs, you will easily recoup these costs. Energy-efficient lights use about 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs—that is a huge difference.
Standard showers are a huge water-waster; a low-flow shower head could reduce household water usage by up to 40 percent. You want to find a brand that uses less than 2 gallons per minute for optimal benefits. While you might associate low-flow with low pressure, efficient showerheads have come a long way from when they first came on the scene. Improved design means they are just as good as a regular shower head.
When it comes to inefficient use of water, standard toilets are at the top of the list of culprits as well. A typical toilet uses 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush while a low-flow version uses between 1.1 and 1.6. This relatively inexpensive change to your bathroom can save tens of thousands of gallons of water per year; in a family of four for example, the savings would be about 34,000 gallons annually. If you cannot afford to replace your toilet, you can buy float boosters or make your own by filling a water bottle with pebbles and water; placing either of these items in your tank will reduce the amount of water used per flush.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats can lead to big energy savings because they allow you to set the temperature of your home based on your schedule and other individual factors. They can store settings and operate the same day after day or you can change them at any time according to your needs. Most models have programming capability that allows you to set a different schedule for each day of the week if you desire.
Hot water heaters can take up a lot of energy and reducing the cooling impact of the air around the outside can help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water. A water heater insulation blanket may reduce energy loss anywhere from 25 to 40 percent. For optimal effectiveness, choose a blanket with an R value (a rating system for insulation) of 11.
As problems with the environment are beginning to come to a head, there is a greater awareness among people about our role in creating these problems and the power we have to fix them or at least reduce future damage. When it comes to our homes, there are lots of simple things we can do that do not cost a lot of money, but can make a big difference.
This guest post was submitted by Kelli C., on the behalf of Accent Building Products. Kelli is a freelancer who covers a range of home improvement topics; she particularly enjoys writing about how people can be more eco-friendly without spending a lot of money.