By Dena Kouremetis on Realtor.com
Fluorescent light bulbs not only last longer but are more environmentally and economically sound.
When that certain lovable Muppet Kermit the Frog sang “It isn’t Easy Being Green” so long ago, chances are pretty good that he wasn’t referring to how easy it is to help the environment. Helping the world go greener can begin with you. Anything from purchasing the right appliances to changing out a light bulb can make a huge difference to both the world around you and even your pocketbook in the long run.
2. How hot is hot and how cold is cold?
- Get some new clothes for your hot water heater by placing an insulating jacket around it (usually costs under $20) and outfit your pipes for even less.
- HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) changes can contribute even more – something as simple as cleaning your furnace’s air filter monthly during heavy usage times can make a big difference.
- Shade your east and west facing windows to prevent the most brutal heat intrusion during summer months. And if your house doesn’t already possess dual-pane energy-efficient windows, why not start replacing those windows slowly, but start with those that receive the most intense sun exposure first?
- Saving heat generating activities such as dishwashers and cooking until the evening hours can help you ease up on cooling costs as well as your local energy grid.
- Using ceiling fans to move air on low speeds (even if TV reality remodeling shows think they’re not fashionable) can permit you to push the thermostat in either direction, providing more circulation of either cool or warm air.
3. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to waste
You may love the forceful flow of water at your faucets, toilets and showerheads, but did you know that installing aerators on them could cut your annual water consumption by more than half?
Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with the EnergyStar®-rated compact fluorescent variety all over the house can save you $100 per year, according to the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a voluntary partnership between leaders of the homebuilding, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries. They calculate that if every family in the U.S. did this, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by one trillion pounds.
Have you bothered to look around your attic space to see if all areas contain insulation? According to PATH, even a small area with limited or no insulation — or even insulation that has been damaged or compressed — can significantly decrease overall effectiveness. The U.S. Department of Energy says that adding insulation to the attic is relatively easy and very cost effective. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of the insulation. If it is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose), you could probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-22 and R-49 insulation in the attic.