It's important to reduce your carbon footprint in today's world. Here are some tips to help you practice sustainable living by 'going green' at home.
1. Turn down your thermostat during the colder months to avoid extra burning of fossil fuels. You could save up to 5% of energy costs for every degree you drop your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees. Programmable thermostats are great because they will automatically adjust the temperature to your schedule. If you're like me and you love to be cozy warm, drink some hot tea, put on a sweater and curl up under a soft blanket. The exchanged body heat from cuddling with a loved one or pet helps too!
2. Invest in LED light bulbs. LEDs use about 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and will end up saving you a lot of money over the years. Do this for your holiday lights too. And remember, when you leave a room, turn the lights off.
3. Use natural light to help heat your home during the colder months. While solar panels are the gold standard, an alternative is to open your blinds/curtains to let light/warmth in and close them when it gets dark to trap the heat inside.
4. Make sure your home is well insulated. Check for cracks around doors and windows to make sure cold air isn't coming in and warn air isn't escaping. Install weather stripping or insulation to seal any cracks/holes.
5. The direction of your ceiling fan blades matter. Since warm air rises, make sure the blades are rotating clockwise during the colder months. Like a high pressure system in meteorology, a clockwise rotation in a ceiling fan causes sinking air. Therefore, a ceiling fan spinning clockwise will push warm air back down to the floor. Reverse the rotation during the warmer months to help keep the room cooler.
6. Wash your clothes using cold water and hang them to dry. Maybe the clothing labels that say 'hand wash cold' and 'hang dry only' aren't so bad after all. Heating water uses a lot of energy, accounting for roughly 14% of the average home electric bill, so use cold water instead of warm water to save energy. Regarding drying clothes, did you know that an electric dryer comprises roughly 5% of a typical home's energy usage? Hang dry clothes to reduce your carbon footprint.
7. Invest in energy-saving appliances. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating when shopping for new appliances. ENERGY STAR products are certified by the EPA and are about 10% more efficient compared to non ENERGY STAR products. So the next time you're in the market for a new refrigerator, dish washer, furnace, etc., look for this label.
8. Don't waste water. Water is so precious and often taken for granted. Turn off the water when you don't need it. If you're brushing your teeth or shaving your legs in the shower, turn off the water temporarily and turn it back on when you need it. To conserve more water, consider purchasing low-flow shower heads and faucets too.
9. Plant some trees in the right spots. During the warm months, trees can provide a great deal of shade to a home. In fact, properly placed trees can save your home's energy needs by up to 25% per year!
10. Replace your old windows with energy-efficient windows. Old windows are a significant source of energy waste. In fact, they can add up to 10 to 25% of your home's heating bill. To cut down on heat loss through windows, replace single-pane windows with double pane ENERGY STAR windows.
While this list has only 10 tips, there are many ways to conserve energy. Thanks for practicing a sustainable lifestyle!