Want to save the environment without busting your wallet? Unlike what people may tell you, going green does not always cost fortune. Yes, you may need to invest in energy efficient windows or purchase a metal roof in the future. However, you don’t need to start with the big purchases right away. Here are 4 easy tips that will keep your home (and wallet) green year-round:
1. Seal Gaps around Doors & Windows
Caulking your entryways is the best way to start saving some money. According to House Logic, the gaps around your windows and doors can rob you as much as $350 every year! Yet, you can stop the leakage at a fraction of the investment. As DIY or Not.com explains, you can either hire a handyman to caulk six average size double-hung windows for $195 or tackle the job on your own for approximately $65. With your windows sealed and ready to keep warm (or cool) air in the house, you can get fashionable and dress them up with lovely window treatment solutions for maximum efficiency. I’d also recommend reading this article from HealthyHandyman on whether to hire a handyman or not.
2. Switch to Low-Flow Fixtures
When it comes to going green, a small change can patch up a huge hole in your wallet. This rings especially true when you switch to low-flow fixtures for your sink faucets, shower heads, and toilets. For example, by effectively reducing the water flow from 2.2 to 1.5 gallons per minute, a WaterSense-labeled bathroom sink faucet can save you at least 30% annually in water flow. What you may not know is that low-flow fixtures can generously slash back your energy expenditure as well. According to Challenge for Sustainability.org, “U.S. water-related energy use represents about 13 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption and generates approximately 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. So for every million gallons of water saved, approximately 1.95 metric tons of CO2 emissions are avoided.”
3. Use Smart, Programmable Thermostat
Do you leave your AC or heater running even when you’re not in the house? Then it’s time to ditch your old thermostat and upgrade to a programmable one. Instead of setting your thermostat at a fixed temperature all day long, a programmable thermostat allows you to input different temperatures around your personal schedule. As Energy.gov explains, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”
In summer, you can give your cooling system a nice break by setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer while you’re away. Opening windows during the night is also another great way to usher cool breeze into the home. According to Energy.gov, the same operational technique can be applied during winter when you set the thermostat at a steady 68°F temperature throughout the day, and only lower it when you’re either asleep or out of the house.
4. Light up Your Home Efficiently
The lighting sources around the house can dramatically change your energy consumption. If you haven’t done so already, replacing the traditional incandescent light bulbs with EnergyStar rated LED bulbs can enable you to light up the house with less money. The truth is an incandescent bulb gives off 90% of its energy as heat. That’s money you’re throwing right out of your pocket! On the other hand, an EnergyStar rated LED bulb not only consumes 75% less energy than its incandescent counterpart, but also lasts 25 times longer. As Energy.gov a report, 5% of your household’s energy budget is dedicated to lighting, so it’s important that you use the right bulb to keep the darkness away.
Every year, the US generates around 15 million tons of textile waste. Imagine how many clothes it takes to stuff entire landfills, and it’s unlikely that textile waste will easily decompose if at all it will. If people buy secondhand clothes, they help decrease the demand for new ones. That, in turn, means decreasing the amount of energy and resources required during production.
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov