So often these days we hear or read about, “going green” within the home, office, and other general areas of our lives. “Going green,” or becoming more eco-friendly as it were, in the home in particular, often elicits visions of solar panels and roof-mounted windmills (do these even exist?), in addition to other costly additions to the home mainframe. While I’m certainly not opposed to large-scale, environmentally beneficial home additions, and understand that they can ultimately save money on energy costs in the long-run, the upfront costs associated with most of them are just too high for our family’s personal adoption right now.
However, there are a number of ways that one can improve their home’s energy efficiency without spending an arm and a leg, and there was a particularly good article posted on this site in January of 2011 titled, The Green Building, by Sally Etlinger that you might also find helpful. In our home though, by simply using some alternative appliances and smaller green applications, we’ve been able to better serve the environment, stay stylish, and save some solid cash in the process. A few ways in which we have benefited from small green updates include:
Saving water is a particularly big environmental issue these days, and one that can be quite helpful in monetary savings. In conjunction with the major ideas like taking shorter showers, and not washing your car with your personal water supply, there are a few lesser-known ways of saving water and lowering usage costs.
- Invest in low flow showerheads: they’re often relatively cheap and will pay for themselves in water bill costs within months.
- Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible as water heating equates to a huge portion of your annual energy consumption.
- Stop buying plastic water bottles and use a water filtration system at home – this will reduce your waste and save you money in the long run.
The future of lighting is rapidly changing with the advent of new energy-efficient lighting technologies lately. Here are a couple ways to make your lights work better for you and your home, and save you some money in the process.
- LEDs: these new bulbs that come in any size or stock you could possibly need, are incredibly more efficient than anything else on the market today. Although they are more expensive initially, over the course of a year or less, the money you will save on energy bills and replacement costs (they last much, much longer than any other type) will be well worth it.
- Motion sensors: by installing motion sensors for your lights, you ensure savings by not leaving lights on when they’re not being used. There are tons of companies out there offering these services at affordable prices.
Basic Energy Tips
By consistently following some basic principles for reducing your energy use, you can save more money and make a much bigger environmental impact than you probably realize.
- Unplug appliances when not in use, or use smart strips that reduce phantom energy flow.
- Use the dryer as little as possible; if you can, use a clothesline or other means to air-dry your clothing after a wash.
- Consider home automation technologies: the control afforded by the remote access features of home automation directly ties to lessening energy use. By being able to turn off lights, adjust the thermostat, and generally tinker with virtually any energy-using appliance in your house from a remote location, with a smart phone or computer, you can save tons of money in annual energy costs, in addition to making your home look pretty snazzy.
Although there are certainly plenty of other ways to be green-conscious on a daily basis, I’ve found that these simple solutions are particularly helpful within the home. As a family, using these green solutions has led to some great savings, and a generally healthier lifestyle as well.