By s.e. smith, Networx
Sometimes it seems like greening your home requires a master’s degree, a lot of money, and endless amounts of time. Fortunately, there are actually some very easy ways to green your home to make it easier on the environment, and on your pocketbook. You can save money on utilities, cut down on waste, and maybe even get a little decluttering in while you’re at it.
Inside the house, there are a lot of ways to cut down on utility use. Water consumption can be a big problem, especially in a larger household. Take small steps like installing a toggle switch in the shower so you can set the temperature and then turn the water off while you soap up, shave, and perform other tasks instead of just letting it run. Remember not to leave the water running while brushing your teeth, and do the same for dishes; only have the water on if you actually need it to rinse dishes, and consider upgrading to a high efficiency dishwasher in the long term.
Laundry can be a huge energy suck, and there are a variety of ways to cut down on waste. Some low-cost options include using cold or lukewarm water so you don’t spend energy heating the water, and using appropriate load settings. If you only have a small load, try to hold off, or think of something else to add to fill it out. Households with more money to spend might want to consider upgrading to green-certified appliances; sometimes you can get special discounts, rebates from utilities, and other incentives to make the up-front costs lower.
Your water heater can also chew through an energy bill extremely quickly. One of the easiest ways to save money on water heating is to dress your heater up! Instead of leaving it bare, add a layer of insulation so it won’t have to work as hard. You might also consider turning the heat down if you never run water at the hottest setting, and you can also install a timing device that only heats water during specific hours to cut costs even further. When your water heater gives out, you might want to consider upgrading to a tankless heater, which heats water as-needed rather than keeping it hot at all times. If you are considering the tankless water heater, read this Atlanta contractor’s advice on tankless water heaters first.
Managing heating and cooling can be a substantial issue in regions with more extreme climates. Dropping the thermostat by even a few degrees can make a big difference—it will still be in the comfort zone, but it won’t use quite as much energy. Consider adding insulation to windows to help maintain the temperature. As windows require upgrading or replacement, double-panes are a good choice for adding further insulation. People with more money might also want to consider replacing insulation in their walls and ceilings to further assist with temperature control.