The Basics: 10 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
1. Turn off the lights. – This may seem intuitive, but many of us don’t think to turn off the lights when we leave a room. Utilize this easy first step on your way to a more energy efficient home!
2. Use energy efficient light bulbs. – Switching out traditional incandescent light blubs for the new CFL or LED ones benefits your home and the environment. These new light bulbs use less energy than traditional ones, and last much longer!
3. Use smart power strips to minimize and eliminate phantom plug loads. – Phantom plug loads occur when a powered down device is still plugged in and drawing electricity. Smart power strips keep devices that are plugged in but off from drawing any energy, saving you money and giving your house a greener footprint!
4. Clean refrigerator coils. – In addition to helping your refrigerator stay in good shape and last for many years, cleaning the coils helps your refrigerator be as energy efficient as possible. Do this easy step annually!
5. Weatherstrip doors and windows. – Weather-stripping the doors and windows in your home works to eliminate drafts and heat escaping. Cut down your energy bill and make your home more efficient with this step!
6. Install insulation in the ceiling or roof. – Insulation keeps your hot air in and cold air out during the winter. Check to see how much insulation is installed in your home and find out how much is needed. Make sure you do your research and consult with a specialist so you’re not creating condensation in unwanted places!
7. Install (and use) a programmable thermostat. – Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule for the temperature in your house so that it can be higher when you’re home and lower when you’re gone. By having it set a few degrees colder while you’re at work, you’ll save on energy bills and have a more energy efficient home. For our area, try the following settings for increased efficiency: 75-80 degrees in the summer and 68-72 in the winter.
8. Use energy efficient appliances. – Energy efficient appliances are significantly more energy efficient than the minimum government standards. When upgrading your appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines, look for the Energy Star logo and savings estimator.
9. Hire a professional to perform an energy audit of your home. – Every home is unique. Having a professional perform an energy audit of your home will give you an insight into how your home is performing and provide suggestions to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Contact your local utility for recommendations and rebates on energy audits of your home.
10. Install renewable energy systems. – Renewable energy systems are systems that derive energy from sources that cannot be depleted. They include PV solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems. Installing even one of these in your home will make a difference!
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