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We live in a world that is coming to terms with the idea that traditional sources of energy are neither infinite nor environmentally friendly. Conserving energy and turning to a sustainable way of life can seem like a daunting task, but the truth is that change begins at home. Every little energy saving step you take in your home makes a difference. Here are some of the best ways to make your home more efficient, saving you time, money, and energy.
Cut down on lighting costs
Many lighting companies are making the switch to energy saving light bulbs and lamps, but if your home doesn’t already make use of these products, swap now. Throw out your old halogen lights and buy CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs instead. Better yet, invest in programmable LED lighting that can be controlled remotely via WiFi and smartphone or tablet apps. When thinking about the placement of your lighting, consider placing lamps in corners so they reflect off two walls back into the room. Use solar powered motion sensor lamps on your porch and patio and throughout your yard to make your energy bills drop even more.
Heat (and cool) your home efficiently
Most homeowners know that wall and loft insulation significantly cut down on energy bills, but there are many less expensive ways of heating and cooling your home efficiently. In addition to existing insulation in your house, make sure your heating pipes and water heater are properly insulated as well. If you heat your home with radiators, consider inexpensive reflectors that attach to the wall and reflect heat back into the room. Place air deflectors over heating and air conditioning vents to direct air flow. Open windows and keep curtains closed in the summer to avoid heating your home to greenhouse temperatures, and make sure to keep doors and windows shut and keep drafts out with door sweeps and doorway curtains in the winter. Turn down your programmable thermostat by one or two degrees and make sure to set the timer according to your needs.
Most of us think of water as an inexhaustible resource, so it’s often easy to use far too much water at home and rack up unnecessary water bills. By using high efficiency taps in sinks and showers, you can dramatically cut down your water use with lower flow, aerated water.
If you want to further monitor the use and flow of your bathroom water, consider picking up shower and toilet bags to see exactly how much you’re using. Toilets with secondary flush buttons are popular in Europe and use less water for smaller flushes. Get the whole family involved in saving water by encouraging timed showers, turning off taps which brushing teeth, and discussing ways to wash dishes more efficiently.
Other handy tips
After you’ve tackled the lighting, heating, and water portions of your home energy usage, you can further reduce your carbon footprint by making other small, daily changes. Rather than using an inefficient, energy sucking tumble dryer on a regular basis, consider air drying some or all of your clothes. Wash your clothes at a slightly colder temperature with cold water detergent and further save on energy.
Unplug appliances when not in use rather than putting them on stand by or leaving them plugged into the walls.
Consider investing in sustainable energy sources such as solar panels. The initial financial outlay will be quickly repaid by the money you save on utility bills and you will have become a truly eco friendly household.
Monitor your use
To ensure you and your family continue to implement smart, energy saving changes throughout your home, consider an electricity usage monitor to further monitor your progress. Some energy companies give these to all customers as standard practice, so they shouldn’t be difficult to find. Check appliances regularly to ensure they are working efficiently and reassess your energy use on a regular basis.
With these basic tips you will be well on your way to a more sustainable, eco friendly home.
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