The wonderful thing about a free-market economy is that when a demand arises, supply inevitably follows. And this is excellent news for homeowners that are concerned about the state of our environment and are looking for ways to make changes in their own lives that can help to ensure a cleaner, greener planet for future generations. Not only can you take advantage of transportation alternatives that use clean fuel, less fuel, or no fossil fuels at all; enjoy organically-grown and locally-sourced foods; and purchase recycled, reclaimed, and refurbished products in order to decrease the demand for new manufacturing and keep usable items out of the landfill, but there are also a wide variety of changes you can make around the house to conserve energy, creating less pollution and waste in the process.
When it comes to energy-saving fixes for your home that are both easy and effective, you’ll find that there is no shortage of potential solutions in a wide range of prices. But let’s just start with those that are free or pretty cheap to incorporate into your daily routine. You can start simply enough by becoming aware of your own wasteful practices. Your parents probably told you plenty of times to turn off the lights when you left a room or to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, and these are things you should definitely do now that you’re responsible for paying the electric bill. You can also program computer equipment to hibernate when inactive and you can even set up electronics on power strips with on/off switches so that you can easily flip the switch to stop phantom drain when these items are powered down.
From there you might want to think about the products you bring into your home and how they affect your energy use. For example, you may still buy traditional, incandescent light bulbs. While compact fluorescent lights will cost slightly more up-front, they also use about a third of the energy and they last ten times as long as incandescent bulbs. So you not only cut back on energy usage, but you save money in a couple of ways. And once you’ve jumped on the Energy Star bandwagon, you can start upgrading appliances to more energy-efficient models as needed. There are even options for electronics, windows, roofing, and a variety of other energy-saving products at EnergyStar.gov.
Of course, one of the worst offenders when it comes to energy waste is your HVAC system, but there are a couple of ways to address this. You might want to start with an energy audit to uncover areas of waste where your bought air is leaking out at the seams. From there you can make appropriate fixes to increase airtightness and insulation, prepping your home for optimum energy savings. You can also upgrade to a programmable thermostat and even implement a zoning system. When used in tandem these two upgrades can save you up to 30% on your energy bill! But if you’re having problems with your equipment, like you’re trying to find the reasons your furnace blows cold air or your AC runs constantly, perhaps it’s time to think about spending some real money to oust your outdated HVAC equipment and upgrade to modern, energy-efficient products. It can cost quite a bit, but you’ll enjoy a more temperate home, greater energy efficiency and monetary savings over time that can offset the initial expense.