Maintaining an eco-friendly home will actually provide a family with a number of great benefits. Along with helping to protect the environment, they will also be cutting down on their energy bills and could even improve the value of their property. If going off the grid with a comprehensive solar panel array isn't an option quite yet, then you may want to consider these six actionable tips to lower your home's carbon footprint.
1. Start With an Energy Audit
This is going to be a difficult process for families that are unsure of exactly what is inefficient around their house. Energy audits are carried out by highly-trained specialists that will thoroughly inspect the home in order to find any problematic areas that the current residents could be unaware of. This may include everything from drafts around doors and windows to a faulty thermostat. Audits are often offered at a discount by the town's electricity provider in order to cut back on energy consumption.
2. Slowly Replace Older Incandescent Light Bulbs
No one wants to go through their household and replace every single light bulb they have, but it is not a bad idea to buy high-efficiency bulbs and replace older lights as they begin to go out. Modern compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cut down on bright glare and can be found in practically every color imaginable. Not only do CFLs cut down on energy consumption, but they often have a lifespan that is three times longer than their incandescent counterparts.
3. Learn the Ideal HVAC Settings
A family may want to enjoy a blast of freezing air whenever they step into their home on a sweltering day, but a few alterations to the thermostat's settings could drastically cut back on energy bills. Every home and area is slightly different, but most households should keep their thermostat at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer while people are home and 82 degrees when the house is empty. During the winter, the ideal settings are 68 degrees during the day and 58 degrees at night with a few extra blankets on the bed.
4. Stop “Phantom” Electricity Use
Devices throughout a home are often consuming energy even if they don't appear to be on. Everything from phone chargers and coffee makers to laptops and TVs can have a “phantom” draw in which they are pulling small amounts of electricity day and night. One simple way to combat this is to plug these devices into outlets that can be turned on and off with a wall switch. If that is not an option, then you may want to invest in a handful of power strips that can turn off multiple devices at once.
5. Check for Government Tax Rebates
At any time, both the state and federal government may offer a wide variety of rebates when you become more eco-friendly. This often changes by the season, but the most consistent tax rebates are for families that switch old appliances, heaters, and coolers to Energy Star devices. This is also a good time to check for any local waste removal programs to safely dispose of toxic materials such as batteries.
6. Get New Window Treatments
An incredible amount of heat can pass through older windows, and this means a colder house in the winter and warmer house in the summer. Modern window treatments utilize multiple layers of protection in order to provide more insulation. High-efficiency treatments often include a window film, insulated drapes, and recycled materials in order to be as eco-friendly as possible. You can help your home save money by investing in plantation shutters. Not only are they energy-efficient, but they look great in the home as well.
Becoming energy efficient does not necessarily mean that your home needs new and expensive products. Instead, it is smaller changes made over time that will often make the biggest difference.