Going green doesn’t mean parting with your hard-earned green, or worse, living uncomfortably. These non-invasive steps can help you leave a smaller carbon footprint and enjoy a lower utility bill.
- Unplug devices and chargers when not in use. The phone charger you leave plugged into your wall 24-7 draws electricity, adding to your bill. Once your phone is charged, unplug the charger. Shut down your laptop at night and unplug the cord. Not only does this help save energy, it’s better for your electronics.
- Upgrade or replace windows. A lot of air that enters your home comes through and around your windows. If you own your home, consider replacing your existing windows with new e-Low models. Although this requires money up front, you’ll appreciate your new energy bill.
- Upgrade your appliances. “Energy-efficient” does not translate to “inefficient” when it comes to the efficacy of an appliance. Those low-flush toilets work just as well as your old dinosaur and newer refrigerators use four times less energy than your old ones – but still keep your food cold.
- Landscaping. A well-placed tree to block afternoon sunlight can work wonders in keeping the heat down in the summer. Or try using shrubs as a barrier against winter wind. Nature knows what it’s doing – listen to it, won’t you?
- Insulate walls and attics. Insulation (or lack thereof) is one of the largest culprits of energy inefficiency. Make sure that heated or cooled air you paid for isn’t escaping. Basements and attics are two of the worst offenders, so check those first.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. Instead of remembering to manually adjust the thermostat, buy a programmable one that you can set ahead of time. Your house should only fluctuate a couple of degrees during the day, even if you turn the thermostat off while you’re at work.
- Fluorescent lighting. We know it’s gotten a bad institutional rap, but today’s fluorescent lighting is a lot better than the stuff they used in your junior high school and a lot more energy efficient. C’mon, give it a shot.
- Air-dry your laundry. Not only does this save tons on your energy bill, it’s also better for your clothes.
- Be conscious. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Don’t leave unnecessary electronics plugged in. Close doors and registers to rooms you don’t use frequently. Don’t leave the door open while you grab the second load of groceries. Little adjustments go a long way.
- Seek and fix drafts. If air is coming in, no matter the time of year, it’s fighting against the regulated temperature you’re striving for, making your HVAC unit work harder.
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