30 Energy Saving Improvements to Consider This Earth Day
30 Ways to Conserve Energy at Home
1. Upgrade Windows
Outdated windows, doors and skylights are vacuums of valuable heat. If you have single paned windows or vintage wooden doors, upgrade to a modern insulated model and keep the heat inside where it belongs and conserve energy at home.
2. Outdoor Solar Motion Sensors
There is no need to shine floodlights on the still darkness. These units charge themselves and illuminate only when motion is sensed.
3. Install an Energy Monitor
Install an energy monitor in your home and become a student of your consumption. These units track your power usage, project monthly bills and help you learn where you can save.
4. Switch to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Compact florescent light bulbs use 75% less energy than your average incandescent. Couple that with the fact that they last much longer and you’ll save more than you know.
5. Install Surge Protector
Appliances and electronics that draw full-time power from part-time use can be regulated with some surge protectors. They can sense when the appliance is not in use and powers it down.
6. Use a Programmable Thermostat
The key to efficiently regulating your home’s climate is a programmable thermostat. These units allow for customizable temperature ranges and heat and cool only when needed.
7. Insulate Properly
It goes without saying but proper insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings is key in the fight against heat loss. You can have your heater on full blast all day long but without adequate insulation it’ll be gone before you know it.
Also consider the insulation properties of your flooring material. If you’re in the market for a new floor, and concerned about energy efficiency, consider cork as a flooring option. One of it’s many benefits is it’s natural insulative properties that improve both acoustics and temperature stability.
8. Seal the Leaks
If your house isn’t properly sealed, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Make sure all the loose cracks are filled and the joints on your heating/cooling equipment are tight. Experts refer to this as “tightening the thermal envelope.”
9. Trickler Shower Valves
There is a large amount of lathering downtime when you shower where you don’t necessarily need a fully pressurized stream. Adding a trickler valve in your shower allows you to toggle back and forth between full and low streams and will help cut down on your bottom-line energy and water consumption.
10. Energy Cinch Curtains
If you can’t afford total window upgrades, Energy Cinch window curtains will act as an insulating barrier. Simple to hang, they act as a glorified curtain and cut heat loss by as much as 80%.
11. Newer, Smarter Appliances
Household appliances account for one-third of your energy consumption. If your appliances are wildly outdated, the standards have changed and chances are good that any upgrade to a newer system will be more energy efficient.
12. Low Flow Toilets
Less work and materials costs less money. By installing low-flow toilets you’ll see a decrease in most of your utilities. Good for your pocket book and Mother Nature.
13. Low Flow Showerhead
Low-flow showerheads use a fraction of the water and will assist in trimming your water bill and subsequent energy bill. Averaging about 1.5 GPM, you’ll notice an expenditure decrease across the board.
14. Window Glaze
If you can’t afford an overhaul on your current windows, consider getting them re-glazed. Often times the putty seal on older windows breaks down and a simple refresh will bring their insulating abilities back to life.
15. Wood Burning Fireplace
Avoid big purchases, installation fees and rising heating bills all together by returning to the old school and using a wood-burning fireplace. As long as your house is insulated properly, you can heat your house for the cost of a bundle of wood.
16. Install Ceiling Fans
Your average ceiling fan is a great way to save on power during the summer and winter months. In the summer, the direct breeze makes it feel cooler than it is and allows you to lay off the AC. As for the winter, because heat rises, the fans will help distribute the warm air that would otherwise be trapped near the ceiling.
17. Embrace Passive Solar Heat
Whether you’re building a house from scratch or using what you’ve got, use your windows with smarts. Having more windows on the south face of your home and less on the north will use the natural patterns of the sun to maintain a more moderate temperature.
18. Radiant Barriers
The final frontier between heat and heat loss is your attic ceiling. A radiant barrier is an aluminum foil-like reflective film that can supplement your insulation. Anything helps to conserve energy at home when it comes to keeping the heat in.
19. Change Air Filter Regularly
If your house has to fight a mucky air filter, it will need to work harder to achieve the same goal. Keeping your systems clean keeps them running efficiently; therefore, change your air filter regularly and reap the rewards.
20. Seal Heating and Cooling Ducts
It’s in your best interest to ensure that your heating and cooling ducts are vacuum tight. Any loss of pressure or output can equal a big loss on your bank statement.
21. Energy Star Roofs
Energy star roofs are special metal and asphalt surfaces that reflect the sun’s intense rays and keeps the surface temperature down as much as 100˚F. This diversion of heat allows for less heat to be transferred into your home.
22. Use a Water Heater Blanket
If you can’t afford to upgrade your water heater, find a water heater blanket. It wraps around your current water heater and prevents standby heat loss by as much as 45%.
23. Geothermal Heat Pumps
It’s a newer technology; geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s natural warmth to heat the contents and therefore don’t work as hard as the standard. When it works less, you save more.
24. Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters are a spectacular way to heat to conserve energy at home while saving on the energy bill because they’re powered by the sun’s natural light. They come in a wide variety but typically all have the same results – warm water for less money.
25. Yearly HVAC Tune-up
Giving your heating and cooling systems a yearly tune-up is a great way to maintain efficiency and keep your energy bills as low as they’ll go.
26. Energy Efficient Landscaping
Much like strategically placed windows, the landscape surrounding your home can be manipulated to go to work for you. By planting leaved trees in front of windows, you can stay shaded in the summer and illuminated in the winter when the leaves are gone.
27. Water Heater Timer
If you’re like most people, you want hot water in the morning and at night – the rest of the day you’re away at work, school, etc. By installing a timer on your water heater, you can have the unit power down during the daytime lull so it’s not working when it doesn’t need to be an easy way to conserve energy at home.
28. On Demand Water Heater
When you’re in the market for a new water heater, consider the on demand variety. By upgrading to this high efficiency unit, you’ll notice a decrease in your water-heating bill by upwards of forty dollars.
29. The Right Refrigerator
It’s a little known fact that refrigerators with side-by-side refrigerator/freezer doors use roughly 15% more energy than top and bottom configurations. Likewise, water dispensers and ice-makers add to that total. When it comes to saving energy, consider these details upon your next appliance upgrade to conserve energy at home.
30. Home Energy Audit
Thinking a bit more big picture, you may consider hiring a professional to perform a home energy audit to see where you can conserve energy at home. They will evaluate your home, your systems and your consumption trends and offer expert advice on areas of improvement. Often times you may not even know you have a problematic leak and the energy auditor will be able to identify the problem and offer a solution to maximize your energy efficiency and minimize your monthly bills.