How To Best Conserve Energy in Your Home
Conserving energy not only helps you save money over time, it also increases your property value and protects the environment. The best part is that it really is not overly complicated to make this happen. It usually just takes a few ounces of prevention and a slight change to your lifestyle.
Here are just a few suggestions:
Change your behavior.
Conserving energy does not necessarily mean you have to go shopping for gadgets and energy-saving appliances (but do it if you can). You can make notes to turn off your lights when they’re not needed, or put your clothes on the clothesline instead of in your dryer, or even hand-wash your dishes as opposed to using your dishwasher regularly. Start thinking about the appliances and rooms that use the most power, and how you can reduce use.
Consider LED lighting.
Traditional light bulbs consume lots of power. They also have to be replaced often. Light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use much less energy and actually last longer than traditional bulbs. It’s a win-win situation. Other low-energy light bulb options: compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and halogen incandescent bulbs.
Get a smart thermostat.
You don’t have to do a thing after you program your programmable thermostat. It can automatically turn off or reduce heat/cooling when you say so, like when you are asleep or at work or on vacation. A smart thermostat means you may not necessarily have to put big money into a new HVAC system.
Seal up the cracks and holes in your home in order to reduce energy expenses. Usually they appear around windows and doors, but they can also show up in vents (meaning your heating/cooling is going out the window) and attics. You can use simple caulk or weather stripping in order to save possibly hundreds of dollars in costs.
Add insulation to your basement, attic, and your walls and floors where applicable. The amount of insulation you’ll need depends on where you live (climate). Find more information on the Department of Energy’s insulation webpage.
Look at your windows.
Much of the energy in your home literally goes out the window. If you have single-pane windows, you may want to consider strengthening your defense against energy waste with double-pane windows. ENERGY STAR windows can save you a significant amount of money on utility bills. Other window considerations: shades, awnings, shutters, screens (and screen doors).
How’s your HVAC?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Consider an ENERGY STAR HVAC system, which is specifically designed to save you money on energy use. According to its website, half the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. You can actually reduce this expense without compromising your comfort by upgrading to an ENERGY STAR-certified HVAC system. While you’re at it, be sure to get your ventilation system (duct network) inspected. Make sure every duct in your home is properly sealed and insulated.
Conserving energy in your home demands a strategy, but once implemented, you may save hundreds of dollars on utility bills while protecting the environment. Not every step involves a huge financial investment — in fact, much of your conservation plan simply involves changing your behavior.