Did you know that of the total energy consumed in the United States, about 40% is used to generate electricity? This means electricity is a big part of each person’s environmental footprint — and it also means your electricity use is one aspect of the Earth’s overall health that YOU can control.
On this Earth Day (and every day!) we’re thinking about ways we can keep this awesome planet green and clean. Ahead, we’re discussing six relatively easy switches you can make at home to increase energy efficiency, decrease your carbon footprint, and save a little money while you’re at it.
1. Close the refrigerator door!
We’ve all been there: You open the refrigerator door, stare for a bit, and close it. Then, about five seconds later, you reopen it, hoping its contents have magically changed. Avoid hanging out in front of the fridge or leaving the door open as you cook — energy just pours out of it when you do.2. Temperature check.
When you’re leaving for the day, turn up the AC in the summer; turn down the heat in the winter. There’s no reason to freeze yourself out of your own home, but a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. If you’re heading out to work for the day, tap the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer. Better yet, keep your blinds closed if you’re not home — that’ll help keep the place cool.
3. Turn off the lights!
There’s a reason why Dad always scolded us for forgetting to flip the light off when we left a room! Lighting is generally about 12% of energy use in a home — don’t let it light an empty room.
4. Change to LED bulbs.
Speaking of lights… it’s time to switch out those lightbulbs for the more energy-efficient LED bulbs. For an even bigger impact on the environment, consider adding solar panels to your home or utilizing energy from a solar farm in your region. Call your energy company to learn more about your options — they’ll point you in the right direction.
5. Replace your windows.
Live in a charming old house? While it may have tons of character, it may also be allowing energy (and money) to be thrown out the window, so to speak. Older, single-pane windows should be replaced with better insulated, more energy efficient windows. If that’s not an option for you right now, at least consider adding solar shades or tinting film.
6. Don’t forget your doors.
Air leaks are a huge zap on energy. Without you noticing, air (heated or cooled air that you’ve paid for, mind you!) can leach out of doorways if they are not sealed correctly. This often happens to older doors from the wear and tear of daily use, and even newer doors and doorframes that haven’t been well maintained. Air leaks are an especially common problem at the door between the home and the garage, because these aren’t usually sealed as well as exterior doors.
Sealing cracks and gaps and adding insulation can save up to 10% on your home energy bill. Your solution may be as simple as buying and installing new weather stripping, or it might be time to upgrade to an all-new door.
Ready to upgrade your doors in the name of energy efficiency?