Going green isn’t just for people who want to help the environment — another great benefit of saving the planet is the savings on your monthly energy bills. There are countless ways to make your home more energy efficient, but we’d like to point out 5 that have a big impact. Check it out:
1. Get Energy-Efficient Windows
Older windows, especially single-glazed ones, allow heat and cool to escape. New windows will decrease your energy bill by 7 to 24 percent, according to EnergyStar.gov, and your home will be more comfortable. If replacing the windows is cost prohibitive, replace the weather stripping on windows and storm doors to keep drafts out. Doing that can save you up to 10 percent on heating and cooling.
2. Use Compact Fluorescent Lamps
A simple upgrade for your home and for the environment is to replace your old incandescent bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). A new CFL costs more than an old bulb, about £1.30 – £2.00 per bulb, but over the lifespan of the bulb you will use significantly less electricity, costing about one third of the cost for the old bulb and its electrical usage. Because the CFLs last so long, you will rarely have to deal with the inconvenience of a burned-out bulb.
3. Don’t Get into Hot Water Over Your Hot Water System
A hot water heater can use a lot of electricity, but you can maximize its efficiency by turning down the temperature to 120°F (49°C) , which is sufficiently hot for any home use. Insulate your water lines to maintain heat in the system. When a new water heater is needed, read labels to get the most energy-efficient one possible. Consider one of the new “on-demand” systems, which are extremely energy efficient.
Also consider switching to low-flow shower heads, which reduce water usage from five to two gallons per minute, and conserve water while cutting your water and electrical bills. Old toilets should be replaced with low-flow models, resulting in total water savings for a family of 20 to 50°.
4. Replace Old Appliances
As appliances need replacement, invest in Energy Star appliances to save on electric bills. This includes refrigerators and freezers, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and heat pumps. Newer, improved appliances will help you maximize your savings, while giving you all the features your family wants. An energy-efficient refrigerator alone can save from £23 – £198 per year on energy costs, according to EnergyStar.gov.
5. Solar Power
If you are really serious about saving money and resources, investigate solar power for your home. There is a considerable investment to install solar panels, but the panels pay for themselves over time. You have the option to purchase the panels yourself, reducing your electric bill to almost nothing, or you can lease them through a solar company, which involves a down payment, but the solar company will provide maintenance, and your lease will be less than an electric bill.
Serious tax credits are available from the government through Green Deal for installation of solar power.
Energy conservation is everyone’s duty, but why not save money while you do it? Consider scheduling an energy audit to see how you can best improve your home’s efficiency.
For more information and inspiration, please go to www.modernize.com.
By Tim Smith
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