If you’re a homeowner, chances are you care about protecting the environment – and saving money. Fortunately, there are some things you can do around your house to help you do both. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Location, location, location efficiency. Carefully consider the location of your home. If you’re close to work, shopping, and entertainment, you may not need a car. Without a car, you would save money on gas, car insurance and maintenance, and not to mention you’d be reducing pollution. If you’re thinking about moving further out, try to find something near public transportation and shopping.
2. Light up the house, not the electric bill. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will save you about $55 in electricity costs over its lifetime. According to ENERGY STAR, if every American home replaced just one light bulb with an LED bulb that has earned the ENERGY STAR certification, we would save about $580 million in energy costs and prevent 7 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Remember to recycle your used LED bulbs. Go to www.epa.gov for recycling locations.
3. Some like it hot, hot, hot…or cold, cold, cold. Closely monitor your thermostat. Adjusting it just a few degrees while you’re out can save energy and money. You can make it easier to control the temperature by installing a programmable thermostat. Use fans and close the blinds during the warm months and let the sun in for natural warmth in the winter. Also, don’t forget to change your filter every three months. This will help keep your HVAC unit operating efficiently and maintain an optimal air quality in your home.
4. How low can you go? One way to save water is by using low-flow toilets. The most cost-effective way to do this is to simply take a 1-liter plastic bottle, fill it with water, and place it inside the tank. This will reduce your water use per flush. Another way to save water is by placing an aerator on all of your faucets.
5. Make it mean-green-clean. Cleaning supplies can be expensive and are often made with toxic chemicals. You can save money and the environment by making your own cleaning supplies. All you need are some basic household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and borax to clean everything from windows to tile. Here are some ideas on how to start making your own cleaner.
6. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! Sticking to this mantra can help you save money around the house. Considering using reusable rags to clean instead of paper towels not only helps you save money but are also more eco-friendly. Buying products in bulk, concentrate, or refillable containers can help reduce packaging waste. Additionally, look for products made from recycled content. And don’t forget to recycle! Here’s a list of acceptable items that you can recycle.
7. Win-dos for your windows. There are several ways you can make your windows more energy efficient. For better insulation from the weather, you can caulk exterior joints, put shrink wrap on them, or hang blackout curtains. Did you know drafty windows resulting in heat gain or heat loss are responsible for 25%-30% of heating and cooling energy use? Here are some additional ways on how to make your windows more energy efficient.
8. Fan the green flames. To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, keep the fan clean. The motor won’t have to work as hard if the fan is clear of debris. Next time you’re in the market for a new fridge, consider choosing an energy-efficient model.
9. Decorate green. Houseplants are like living air-filters. English Ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies, and red-edged dracaena can help clean the air and look pretty too. Here’s a list of other houseplants to consider.
10. Vampire energy is sucking you dry. On or off, anything plugged into the wall sucks energy. Vampire power costs U.S. consumers more than $26 billion a year, according to Save on Energy. Make sure to unplug your electronics and appliances when they’re not in use.
For more green home solutions, visit: epa.gov.
If you’d like to upgrade your home’s windows, appliances, and heating and cooling system to improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider utilizing a home equity line of credit from First Bank. If you are interested in how a HELOC can help with other home improvement needs, contact a trusted First Bank representative.
Originally published on March 9, 2022. Article has been updated.
Source: American Bankers Association (ABA)