4 Green Tips to Reduce Energy Use in Your Home
If spotting the monthly energy bill in the mailbox strikes fear in your heart, take heed. The following green tips will help reduce the amount of energy you use in your home and save you money.
All Bulbs Are Not Created Equal
A great way to cut back on energy usage is to replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, which are just as bright as regular light bulbs but also more energy-efficient. If homeowners replaced their five most-used lights with eco-friendly bulbs, they would save a whopping $8 billion annually on their collective energy bills, according to Duke Energy Progress. In addition, consider using motion-detector lights for all of your outdoor lighting needs, which will provide light as needed while using less energy than a light bulb that is left on all night.
Heat and Cool Efficiently
Although we are not spending as much money as we once did to heat and cool our homes, the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that as of 2012, 48 percent of energy consumption is for heating and cooling, which is down from 58 percent in 1993. Or course, this is still a significant portion of the energy bill. To save as much money on heating and cooling as possible, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests using a programmable thermostat that will turn the unit up or down automatically depending on when people will be home or at work. In addition, it’s recommended you service your HVAC on a regular basis. Plus, basic tasks that may be overlooked by homeowners like cleaning and changing the air filters every month can make a definite difference in energy usage.
Focus on Windows
Windows can do much more than let light into a home while keeping bugs out. Windows can allow heat to escape during the winter and cool air to get out during the summer. To make sure your windows are as energy-efficient as possible, consider applying a “Low-e” film to boost their overall efficiency. In addition, make sure the windows are well-sealed to prevent heat and cooling loss. According to the experts at Sound Renovation, “Windows treated with Low E glazes usually cost 15 percent more than regular windows; however, they minimize energy loss by as much as 30 percent.” If the budget allows it, you also may want to replace at least some of the windows in your home with energy-efficient models. When shopping for new windows, select those that are marked with the Energy Star logo. If necessary, you can start with replacing the windows that get the most sunlight during the day or the most exposed to wind and do the others over time. Also keep in mind that your window coverings can have an impact on your energy usage, especially those that face south. For example, The Shade Store sells a line of attractive solar shades that will help reduce overall glare and UV rays from the sun.
Put the Proper Spin on Your Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a great way to help move warm or cool air throughout the room, but they must be set in different ways throughout the year. For example, in the summer switch the fan’s blades to spin in a counter-clockwise direction and in the winter adjust the blades to turn in a clockwise manner.