When you think about it, there are several ways you can cut household costs and do your part to help save the planet. Here are several simple and sensible ways to reduce your household bills while you and your family adopt a more environment-friendly lifestyle:
- Insulate better –Feel that draft? It’s the sensation of wasting heating energy and money. Sealing leaks and better insulating your house will pay back the cost quickly, keep your family more comfortable and reduce waste.
- Maintain your heating and cooling systems– Regular maintenance will keep your furnace and air conditioning system in optimal running order. That means spending a little now to help reduce your utility bills every month as much as possible.
- Maintain your water heater- Buy the most energy-efficient system you can afford and make sure it’s well insulated. This will result in your water heating faster so you waste less of it waiting to wash up or shower in comfort.
- Consider smart lighting – So-called smart lighting fixtures can be programmed to turn on and off from your laptop, tablet or smartphone from wherever you are. So if you’re away, you don’t need to leave the lights on day and night to make your home look occupied. Set them to turn on after dark and off again in the morning--even if you’re halfway across the country.
- Install energy-efficient windows and smart window treatments– Similar to smart lighting, smart window coverings can be programmed and controlled from anywhere. They’ll open when there’s enough natural sunlight to help warm your interior spaces in the winter, and close while you’re away to avoid radiant heat in summer. Combine this technology with new energy-efficient windows with glass and panes that seal in the cool air in summer and block cold drafts in winter. You’ll see the difference in your energy bills.
- Shop for energy-efficient appliances – The next time you need a stove, dishwasher, refrigerator or other major household appliance, shop for products with Energy Star® certification. Energy Star®, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, inspects and certifies appliances that promote optimal energy efficiency. Look for Energy Star® appliances, and you can be assured of performance at a level that will help save money while safeguarding the environment vs. the impact of older and less efficient appliances.
- Save energy in your home office – Now, more than ever, you or others in your family are working from home at least part of the time. You can save in this area by shopping for energy-efficient electronics and then using power-saving features and practicing better usage habits. For instance, turn off your laptop if you’ll be away for a while rather than letting it run idle, turn down the screen brightness and disable devices you don’t need. For instance, if you only use your printer twice a week, on average, don’t let it run 24/7.
- Consider renewable energy sources – Yes, converting to solar or wind power can be a major investment--but it might pay back sooner than you expect. At least crunch the numbers and see upfront costs and the positive impact renewable energy might have on your monthly utility bills.