There are a ton of benefits to becoming a “green” homeowner and making energy-efficient home improvements. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you can save big money on your monthly utility bills and possibly earn tax credits, too. Here are seven energy-saving and money-saving tips to consider implementing in your home.
Vampire power is a common term used to describe plugged-in appliances and electronics that aren’t in use. If you use surge protectors in your home, unplug them or turn them off when you aren’t using your devices – including computers! About 90% of desktop computers are not optimized for energy efficiency. So when it isn’t in use, turn it off completely or use the hibernation mode so it doesn’t drain your home’s energy.
Savings: You’ll save about 5–10% off your utility bill annually.
Programmable thermostats only cost about $30 but help prevent wasted energy year round. These thermostats allow homeowners to dial down the temperature significantly when they aren’t home or when they’re asleep. Some models also allow you to individually adjust heat on different levels of your home. In the end, these devices are well worth the cost.
Savings: You’ll save about 10% off your utility bill annually.
You’re losing money year round if your home doesn’t have enough insulation in the attic and walls. Older homes were typically built with less insulation than the ones built today. You will have to assess the type of insulation and determine its R-value and the thickness of the insulation you currently have. If yours isn’t up to R-50, you’re likely losing cool air in the summer and heat in the winter.
R-value measures the level of resistance to heat flow through a certain thickness of material. The higher the R-value, the greater the resistance of the insulation. You can calculate the R-value of your insulation by using this formula: Insulation thickness (inches) x R-value per inch = total R-value. To learn more about R values, click here.
Savings: You’ll save about $300 annually or more.
Do an Energy Audit
Have an energy assessment performed on your whole house to ensure a high level of efficiency. A quality home energy auditor will check everything from your windows to your insulation to determine where energy improvements can be made. They will make sure your home is properly air sealed from outside elements.
Savings: You can save up to $600.
I know it sounds crazy, but landscaping your empty yard staves off erosion, blocks storm-water runoff, filters groundwater pollutants and cuts down carbon dioxide emissions. On top of all of these green reasons to invest in landscaping, it also boosts the value of your home.
Savings: Landscaping an unshaded home can help you save up to 50% on air-conditioning costs, and tree positioning can save up to 25% off a utility bill annually.
Improve Window and Door Seals
Sealing your windows can be a very inexpensive fix: Simply invest in a tube of caulk or weather-stripping. Buying energy-efficient windows eliminates a draft so you stay warmer, and it will help you save on your utility bill! Installing sweeps on exterior doors can help prevent air leakage and avoid wasting energy. If you’re installing a new door, it may be beneficial to first check its energy performance rating. Glass and patio doors are notorious for losing more heat than other exterior doors because glass is a poor insulator. If you’ll be replacing these doors, look for low-emissivity coating and low-conductivity gasses between the glass panels.
Savings: You can potentially save $15 per door and window annually.
High-Efficiency Water Heaters
Purchasing a high-efficiency water heater can significantly drive down your energy costs. They conserve energy by keeping water hot for a longer period of time than traditional water heaters. Bonus: Certain high-efficiency water heaters can qualify for federal tax credits!
Savings: You’ll save about 15–25% off your annual utility bill.
If you’ve made these home upgrades, you should start thinking about all of the things you’ll do with your windfall of cash! If you want more ways to make your home greener AND save money, click here.