Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t require you to turn your whole life upside down. You just need to be willing to make a few smart changes. And it’s not just the environment that will thank you – your bank account will, too!
What is energy efficiency?
Simply put, energy efficiency is using less energy to achieve the same effect, such as lighting or heating and cooling our homes. When you use energy-efficient appliances and practices, it can help reduce energy waste and keep more money in YOUR bank account, where it belongs.
Energy efficiency is also better for the environment, so it’s a win-win situation that means we’re doing good for the world and for ourselves at the same time!
Ways you can make your home energy-efficient
Here are a few simple and practical ways to reduce your energy usage and save money on those monthly utility bills.
Change your lightbulbs
Upgrading to energy-efficient lighting is a bright idea for your wallet and the environment. Swap out those old incandescent bulbs for LED or CFL alternatives to reduce energy consumption. LED bulbs last around 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use up to 90% less energy.
Not only do these bulbs last much longer, but they also produce less heat, making your home more comfortable during the hot summer months. So shed some light on your savings and switch to energy-efficient lighting.
Seal your windows and doors
Even when they’re closed, windows and doors can allow heat to escape during the chilly months and let it in during the hot ones.
Investing in energy-efficient windows or installing weatherstripping on your doors creates a better-insulated environment, trimming down heating and cooling expenses. According to Energy Star, installing Energy Star-certified windows can lower your household energy bills by up to 12% and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Switch to a smarter thermostat
Smart thermostats learn and adapt to your routines and preferences, adjusting temperatures when you are out of the house or sleeping to conserve energy. An Energy Star-certified smart thermostat in your home can save you $50 on your annual heating and cooling costs, which is about 8% per year. Plus, it’s hard to beat the convenience of having control of your thermostat from your phone.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
The older your home, the more likely that heat is leaking through your walls and roof. Good quality insulation can be a game-changer here, keeping your home toasty in the winter and cool in the summer, all while reducing the need for energy-guzzling heating or AC units.
The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs and 10% on total energy costs by insulating specific areas of your home. This includes your basement rim joists, crawl spaces, attics, and floors.
Green thumbs up for landscaping
Did you know strategic landscaping could help your home become more energy-efficient? Planting shade trees and shrubs around your home can serve as a natural barrier against the summer heat, reducing your reliance on air conditioning.
These plants can also serve as windbreaks in the winter, helping keep your home warmer. All-in-all, well-placed trees can cut your energy expenses by up to 25%!
Consider going solar
Solar panels could be a fantastic investment if you’re feeling a little more ambitious and have a few extra dollars to spare. The upfront cost can be steep, but the long-term benefits are enticing - generating your own energy and possibly selling the surplus back to the grid.
With solar panels on your home, you could save around $1,500 per year on electricity bills, which comes out to $37,500 in savings over the life of the solar panel system (typically 25 to 30 years). With government tax incentives letting you recoup up to 30% of the cost of installation, solar panels are a great long-term energy-efficient solution that helps you keep more of your own money.
Upgrade your appliances
Finally, let’s not forget our everyday appliances. When it’s time to bid goodbye to your old refrigerator, dishwasher, or washing machine, consider replacing them with energy-efficient models. They might cost a tad more initially, but the long-term energy savings make them a wise choice.
Look for appliances with the Energy Star label - they’re certified for efficiency. For example, let’s give a special shout-out to the water heater, often one of the most energy-hungry devices in homes. Opting for an energy-efficient model here can save your household around $470 per year and $4,500 over its lifetime.
Every step counts
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