Environmental sustainability is a phrase on everyone’s minds these days, especially with the debate over fracking on the news and rising prices at the gas pumps. But if you’re honest, chances are those saved dollars are much more important to you than whatever the future of the planet may be. In the end, one person can only do so much to help the environment on a grand scale, but a single individual can consider the environment in ways that will make a huge difference to a family’s financial bottom line. One of the biggest monthly expenses on the ledger tends to be household utilities. Luckily you can do a lot to impact your gas and electric bill that will save the planet and your wallet. Here are a few ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency rating starting today.
All of the changes you make must start with a shift of mindset. Becoming more energy efficient at home generally means instilling some new practices, and it will take conscious effort to succeed. Make a list of any home habits you have that could be considered wasteful. One of the most obvious is leaving too many lights on. Make it a part of your routine to shut off the lights in any room that’s not being used, and you’ll see a real difference in your monthly electric bill. Additionally, switch out your standard light bulbs with long-lasting energy efficient ones. You’ll go through far fewer bulbs a year, and the light they give off is fantastic. Pick up a couple of energy efficient power strips and plug all of your electronics and appliances (except the refrigerator) in, so you can easily shut them down when they’re not being used.
Any appliance that generates heat is a big energy user and waster. Do regular maintenance on the oven to insure it heats up as swiftly as possible, or replace it with a modern, energy efficient model. If you’re heating water on the stove, try not to overfill the kettle and you’ll cut down on the amount of gas or electric you use.
The largest part of your expenses will involve heating and cooling the house. Regrettably, you could be spending a significant percentage of that money heating and cooling the neighborhood, if your home isn’t sufficiently sealed and insulated. Check out the doors and windows, and look for gaps or leaky spots. If you own the house and will be staying for a while, consider replacing old windows with new ones that are better sealed. Pick up blinds and curtains designed to keep the house’s temperature consistent. And if you can, raise your standard thermostat temperature a degree or two in the summer, and lower in the winter. Shedding that extra layer of clothing or grabbing a blanket will pay off at the end of the month.
Consider more significant ways to impact your home’s energy efficiency. If you can afford to trade in your old boiler, washer/dryer and other appliances for green certified models, you’ll be doing your part not just for the family, but for environmental sustainability. And as a longer term plan, look into greener energy sources for your home. Adding solar or wind power to your home will drastically reduce your energy requirement over time. And it could add to the value of your home. Check out some tracker mortgage sites to see how you can increase the value of your home through improved energy efficiency.