Looking to make your home more energy efficient? Whether you live in a state-of-the-art, brand-new home with all the bells and whistles or are simply hoping to make your more traditional home a bit greener, these eight tips can help make your home greener immediately.
- Rethink that thermostat
While a modern, smart thermostat can help your family conserve energy automatically, you don’t need to install an “intelligent” thermostat to make your home greener. Instead, make a mental note to adjust your thermostat whenever you leave the house. After all, there’s no need to heat or cool a home when nobody is inside.
What’s more, by paying closer attention to your thermostat, you can also save money. The United States Department of Energy estimates that you can reduce your energy bill by 10% by adjusting your thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day.
- Choose greener showerheads—and upgrade that water heater, too
Many states—including the Carolinas—face legitimate drought concerns. Your family can save water (and cash) by installing low-flow showerheads. Consider switching to an electric or tankless water heater, especially when your traditional water heater approaches the end of its useful life. Both options use less energy and natural resources to provide your family with hot water.
- Replace your lightbulbs
Incandescent bulbs are pretty, but they aren’t good for the environment. That’s precisely why production was stopped on these bulbs nearly a decade ago. Today, halogen bulbs and LED lights offer homeowners all the luminance of incandescent lighting without wasting so much energy. When you have an hour to spare, switch out any older bulbs for newer, more energy-efficient ones.
- Unplug electronics and appliances that aren’t in use
Did the last owner of your home charge a Tesla in the garage? Has nobody used that extra fridge since the kids left for college? If these electronics and appliances are still plugged in, they’re still using electricity, even if switched off. So take a few minutes to audit your home and ensure that the only items you keep plugged in are those you use constantly.
The same goes for phone chargers, rarely-used lamps, and exercise bikes. If these items aren’t in use, unplug them to create a greener, more energy-efficient home at once.
- Seal your windows
If you live in an older home, chances are both cold and hot air seep through the cracks in your windows. Don’t worry—you don’t need to replace your windows to create a tighter seal. Instead, check your windows for draft, and seal them using weatherstripping or silicone caulk.
Want to be even greener? Some homeowners use shrink film to their windows to keep the hot sun from warming the home.
- Upgrade your appliances
Upgrading your appliances is a significant expense, but if you choose to purchase new appliances, you’ll want to consider selecting ones that are energy efficient. These appliances are not only better for the environment, but they will also reduce the costs of your monthly utility bills.
When shopping, look for Energy Star products. These appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, air conditioning, and televisions, meet specific standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These appliances generally use 10 to 50% less energy than their conventional counterparts.
Keep in mind that many new homes, including those built by True Homes, were designed with energy efficiency in mind.
- Get an energy boost from Mother Nature
Natural light. A calm evening breeze. Spring showers. These everyday occurrences can help your home use less energy. So if it’s bright, open the blinds and let the sun illuminate your home. If the weather is comfortable, crack the windows and let fresh air fill your room. And if it’s raining, turn off the sprinklers until the forecast changes.
By leaning on free, natural resources that don’t consume energy whenever possible, you’re that much closer to a greener, more sustainable home.
- Get in the habit of shutting down the house
Many of us are busy, on-the-go people. We leave home in a hurry, rushing out the door with a cup of coffee and the kids in tow. But if we all took a few minutes to “turn off” the house before leaving for the day, we could save a ton of energy in the long run. So when you leave the house, ensure lights are switched off, fans aren’t running, and the thermostat is adjusted appropriately.
It might take some getting used to, but after a few weeks, you’ll be in the habit of saving electricity—and your energy bill will thank you.