Many homeowners are concerned about the state of the environment and the potential impact of climate change and want to help make a difference. Those who want to reduce their home’s carbon footprint can start making changes at little or no cost to them. Homeowners can get started with small and easy ways to improve a home’s energy-efficiency as they become more conscious about how valuable natural resources are used.
These free-to-low-cost ways to make a home more energy efficient can help homeowners get started on meeting residential energy demands while supporting their environment. Every little change makes a difference and, through combined efforts, people can spread awareness and increase participation in environmentally-conscious living with other households in their area.
Decrease Energy Usage Through Lighting
Homeowners may be unaware of the easy and affordable ways to begin to reduce their energy consumption. One of the first ways to illuminate a home for less is to switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs. These long-lasting bulbs retain more of their energy when compared to traditional light bulbs. Lighting a home becomes more cost-effective and efficient when homeowners choose to change to more energy-efficient lighting. Homeowners may also select to install and use lighting controls and dimmers to decrease how much electricity is used and to turn off lights when a room or space is not being used. Walk through a home before going to sleep or leaving home and turn off any unnecessary lights that may still be on to avoid wasting electricity.
Reduce Energy Consumption with More Efficient Use
Running the dishwasher for a few dishes or forgetting to regularly maintain appliances are ways homeowners end up consuming more energy than necessary. Those looking to make changes can:
- Run laundry machines and dishwashers at off-peak times
- Only run with a full load
- Unplug appliances when they will not be used
- Repair and maintain appliances and the HVAC system
Many of these suggestions cost nothing and homeowners can meet their home’s energy demands while drawing less energy from the grid. Regular maintenance and repairing of appliances allows the appliances to work more efficiently and not require as much energy as those running with broken coils or other issues. This makes a big difference when heating and cooling a home, such as with a HVAC system. Many of the larger appliances in the home can benefit from regular cleaning and maintenance to improve their longevity and performance. This also helps homeowners get longer usage out of their current appliances and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting, dumping and manufacturing new appliances. When it does come time to buy new appliances, check for the ENERGY STAR label for more energy-efficient models.
Address Air Leaks
After homeowners put in a new HVAC system they can still end up wasting energy. Air leaks around windows, doors and pipes can allows cooled or heated air to escape. This means that a homeowner would have to run their system longer in order to sufficiently heat or cool a home. Filling these gaps and adding attic insulation can go a long way to improving a home’s envelope. Sealing a home is often recommended to improve energy-efficiency. In addition, taking such steps can also help control for humidity and reduce the potential for allergens to enter a home.
Use Less Water
Homeowners and those who reside in a home can take steps to reduce water by taking shorter showers and using greywater to water plants and gardens. Greywater is any water from showers, tubs, sinks and washing machines that has not come into contact with fecal matter. This water can be used for irrigation and serve as a natural fertilizer. Use “plant friendly” products when using greywater for watering plants. Choosing plants native to an area when gardening can decrease the need for additional watering and supports the local ecology. In addition, installing water-efficient dishwashers, toilets, shower heads, faucet heads and washing machines can reduce water consumption in a home.
Choose Clean Energy
Solar energy panels are becoming a more common sight in many communities in America. Purchasing a solar energy system can reduce utility bills and help support the use of sustainable sources of energy for residential use. Solar, wind and geothermal sources are considered to be “clean” and homeowners can use such options to power their homes. Leasing solar panels are another option for homeowners not interested in purchasing a solar panel system outright. Federal tax credits make integrating green technology more affordable. Homeowners who want to meet their home’s energy demands with clean energy can also turn to the Green Power Locator to find a local supplier of green power.