Your energy bill is likely your biggest home expense outside of your mortgage. Finding ways to lower your energy consumption will not only lower your monthly bills but will also reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Of course, installing solar panels will allow you to produce sustainable energy to have the biggest impact on reducing your environmental footprint and your energy bills. But not everyone can install solar panels, either because their home or their land won’t support them or because they can’t afford them. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways you can reduce your energy consumption. Here are a few ideas:
Find the Right Provider
In some places, you don’t really have a choice of where you get your electricity (unless you provide it yourself with solar or other alternative energy). In larger metropolitan areas, you can actually choose your provider, which means that you can find one that has more sustainable energy options and better rates. Click here to get an idea of how this comparison and selection process works in the places that offer it. Look around to see if you can do the same where you live.
Install a Digital Thermostat
You don’t need to be heating or cooling your home for the eight hours a day that you are not home — at least not to the same level that you need it to be comfortable for you. Your home can be a good 10 to 20 degrees hotter or colder without affecting your belongings (depending on your climate and the overall conditions of your home). Yet if you just set the thermostat lower when you leave, you have to wait a long time for the house to get comfortable again when you readjust the thermostat when you get home.
A digital thermostat allows you to program a schedule. Therefore, the thermostat will automatically lower the temperature when you leave and automatically bring it back up to where you want it to be an hour to half hour before you get home. You’ll save a lot of money on energy costs, and you’ll always have a cozy environment.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your appliances use a great deal of energy. You can take steps to minimize your use of the appliances, such as by always running a full load in the dishwasher and washing machine. However, you can make a much bigger impact by investing in energy-efficient appliances.
Look for the Energy Star rating on the appliances to let you know that they are certified for energy savings. When you are shopping, the appliances should also have a tag that shows the estimated energy savings in terms of both wattage and dollar figures.
Make Your Home Energy-Efficient
This step can be one of the hardest and most expensive, or it can be one of the simplest and cheapest. The best way to know what your home needs to be more energy-efficient is to hire someone to perform an energy audit.
You may find that you need to make simple changes like adding new weather stripping to the doors and windows or fixing some insulation in the attic. Or you may find that you need more extensive updates like new windows and new doors. Making all the updates recommended will have a significant impact on your bottom line. You may spend a little money for the updates, but you’ll get it back and then some with the money you save on energy costs and the improved value you add to your home.
Reducing your energy consumption is the right thing for the environment, and it’s the right thing for your pocket book. Use these tips and make simple habit changes, like turning off lights when you are not in the room, using ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner, and air drying your clothes. The more changes you make, the more you’ll be able to save.