How can I make my home energy efficient?
There are many ways to make your home more energy efficient. From replacing old appliances to utilizing home automation technology, the options for lowering your utility bills are all-but-endless.
Keep Your Cool
For homes with central heat and air, up to 42 percent of energy costs go toward maintaining a comfortable temperature.
- Lowering the cost of air conditioning and heating can be as simple as adding drapes or curtains.
- Using a ceiling fan requires less energy than air conditioning and can let you adjust your thermostat without making you feel any hotter.
- Replacing your central heat and air filter at least once every three months will reduce the workload on the system — and the amount of energy it uses.
- ENERGY STAR windows can lower your energy bills by 12 percent, and you may even be eligible for an income tax credit if you add them to your home. If you can’t afford new windows, seal any gaps around windows and doors.
Adding insulation to your home can reduce heating and air conditioning expenses by up to 20 percent.
- Installing insulation in your attic or crawlspace or around heating and cooling ducts is relatively simple. If you do it yourself, buy appropriate protective gear: fiberglass insulation is a major skin and lung irritant.
- Other kinds of insulation, including blown-in or sprayed foam, are best left to the professionals. Before you pay for the help, determine where your home needs insulation, and what kind is best for those applications.
- Don’t forget to insulate your hot water heater: a DIY installation is easy and inexpensive and could pay for itself in less than a year.
The smart use of water resources, which use a considerable amount of energy to deliver and treat, can help lower your energy bill.
- Installing a WaterSense shower head could save up to $70 in combined water and electricity costs each year and is a simple DIY project.
- Low-flow faucets and toilets can save 13,000 gallons of water each year.
- It may seem like a simple problem, but don’t let your faucet drip. If you can fix simple leaks yourself, it’ll pay off: one drip per second can add up to $1 per month.
Let There Be Better Light
More efficient lighting is one of the easiest ways to save money on your utility bills.
- Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) bulbs use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs and can pay for themselves within nine months.
- Light-Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs are more expensive than traditional bulbs but are 75-80 percent more efficient than incandescent lighting and can last 10 to 25 times as long.
Save With the STAR
Cars are much more efficient than they were 20 years ago, and appliances are no different.
Replacing all your appliances at once would be cost-prohibitive, but you might be surprised at just how much money your old appliances cost you.
- A new ENERGY STAR refrigerator could save you $300 in energy cost over its lifetime.
- An ENERGY STAR washing machine could save you $40 a year.
- The ENERGY STAR program includes appliances from coffee makers to computers, so look for the logo on all new appliances you buy.
Take Control with Home Automation
From an energy-efficiency standpoint, installing a home automation system may be the most effective way to make your home more energy efficient.
- Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature of your home based on the time of day, or by manual control, via an app on your smartphone. Some smart thermostats, like the Google-owned Nest, learn and adapt to your preferences automatically.
- Appliance/lighting control allows you to set any light plugged into a smart outlet to turn off at a pre-scheduled time, or, depending on the model you choose, from your smartphone.
- You can also buy smart appliances like power-saving refrigerators or energy-tracking washing machines that allow you to save energy with a touch of a button.
Where should I start?
It’s easy to spend a lot of money trying to save money, so replace inefficient light bulbs and appliances as they burn out, rather than all at once. Performing a home energy efficiency audit, or hiring a professional to perform one, can help identify the biggest sources of energy waste in your home so you can respond in the most economical manner.