Your Home: Saving Money While Saving the Environment
You are a hard worker and every penny counts. You can and will do what it takes to save money. But at the same time, you also wonder about the planet. Sure, you pack your lunch in a reusable tote, keep a set of silverware at work to avoid using disposable plastics, and recycle your old paper. But what else can you do to keep the planet green? A whole lot, actually - and it all starts right in your home.
Energy Efficient Appliances
In America, we consume one million dollars’ worth of power each minute. Part of this comes from our appliance use. We cannot avoid running these; they make our home a safe and clean place to be. Washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, and many other machines are key to a happy home.
The EPA states that the use of energy-efficient appliances has helped curb carbon emissions by 2 billion metric tons. You can have a positive impact on the environment in this manner as these appliances use less power.
By running energy efficient appliances, you have a positive impact on the environment by using less energy and even save some money. One way this happens is by way of tax credits brought to you by the federal government. By putting EnergyStar appliances in your home, like refrigerators, air conditioners, and others, you help the world stay green and get some money back in your pocket.
- Green America: Buy the best appliances
- Environmental Protection Agency: Reduce the environmental impact of your energy use
- Texas A&M: Energy Star appliances
Replace Standard Light Bulbs with Energy Efficient Bulbs
Where would you be without a light in your home? Probably stuck in the same room all day! We must have lighting to ensure a safe home, and there are more options than ever such as LED lights. You can even get LEDs that are dimmable to create the environment you want.
By switching to energy saving lighting, you can have a serious impact on power saving. According to Energy.gov, the widespread use of LEDs can save about 348 TWh in the US if we all start using them by 2027. This means the electrical output of 44 large power plants is cut, and that means about 30 billion dollars in savings on electricity bills.
It is important that you save money too. 25% of your energy budget is used up by lighting. Why not get the most efficient bulbs out there? LEDs give off less heat, which means less energy consumed, resulting in a smaller bill for you.
- Seattle City Light: Benefits of Energy Star certified LED lightbulbs
- Matter of Trust: 5 common ways homes are being retrofitted for energy efficiency
- Energy.gov: LED lighting
Eco Friendly Landscaping and Barrels
Your home must look presentable, but you still want to be green. How can you do it? Naturescaping, or letting your space be neat and natural is one way. In this method, you work with the plants that go with the soil you have instead of ripping out already existing plant life, bringing in new soil, and maintaining it with harsh chemicals.
In order to maintain your naturescape, you will want to get a rain barrel, too. A rain barrel collects rainwater for you to use later on. You can use the rainwater on your lawn or garden instead of running the garden hose. You will want to use caution if you are using the rainwater on edible plants, as the rainwater can come into contact with less than desirable substances (bird droppings, for instance) during runoff.
As for the environment, you can rest easy knowing you are not polluting the local rivers and lakes via runoff from lawn chemicals. You will not be bringing in non-native species of plants and flowers, and you will also protect local wildlife in this manner. You may also avoid noise pollution by not running lawn mowers and weed trimmers as often.
The monetary benefits of these methods are numerous. For one, you save money on both by not having to spend money on plant chemicals or special soils if you naturescape. And by using a rain barrel, you don’t have to run the garden hose, resulting in a lower water bill. If you previously had a landscaper coming to your home, this will help save money as you can have them use less of their products on your lawn or cancel your services with them altogether.
- Plant Native: Benefits of naturescaping
- Colorado State University: Sustainable landscaping
- Clemson cooperative extension: Creating an environmentally responsible landscape
Using Smart Thermostats
Many things in our home are already “smart”- we have our voice-activated assistants, touch-screen refrigerators, and even smart TVs. The way we heat and cool our home should be no different, especially when it is easy to use. Smart thermostats are a way of controlling your home’s temperature via the internet. You can use your smartphone to control the temperature of your home even when you are away.
Smart thermostats work by recording user settings and then using those settings to heat and cool the home while it is not occupied. In this manner, less energy is expended, which has a positive environmental impact. You can use less natural gas, oil, or propane and even cut down on the pollution caused by having these fuels delivered by using a smart thermostat.
There is an upfront purchase price for a smart thermostat, but it will save you money by using less of whichever fuel is used to power your home. Furthermore, you can often get a rebate by purchasing one of these innovative devices. Check with your power supply company for details.
- Citizens Utility Board: Smart thermostats
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Smart home heating and cooling
Energy Efficient Mortgages
A federally-recognized mortgage is for those of us with energy-efficient homes we are trying to sell, or homes that can become energy efficient by installing the correct appliances. You can finance these clean-energy measures as part of your mortgage to make it easier as you buy. For buyers, this means you save money from day one buying an energy-efficient home. For sellers, this can result in a quicker sale.
When you use your mortgage to finance energy-efficient upgrades, you are saying yes to less of an environmental impact. When you put solar panels on your home, you are putting less stress onto the power grid. When you swap out old, inefficient windows for EnergyStar windows, fewer heat escapes and the furnace is not run as often. You can install low-flow fixtures to ensure less water is used. These small changes can really make a difference and save you money over time.
You will see the benefits when you hear the lender go over the savings the energy-efficient features of your home will provide. This, of course, is done after an energy audit is performed on the home. By using this mortgage to finance eco-friendly upgrades like solar panels or efficient furnaces on your home, you will save money in the long run by not having an older appliance that is likely to be less energy-conscious.
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development: Energy efficient mortgage homeowner guide
- Energize Ohio: Energy efficient mortgages
Additional Ideas and Resources
These are just a few ways you can take part in a greener world, starting right from your home. By making these changes over time, we will protect our earth and make the future bright for our friends, family, and neighbors. For more ideas about how to get your home friendly and green, check these sites out:
World Watch has several ways you can save the environment and money at the same time.
Don’t forget to enjoy your greener home!