We live in an interesting time, where the intersection of technological innovation and environmental consciousness provides homeowners with nearly unlimited ways to save money smartly. What’s more, manufacturers recognize the consumer demand for green products that are still stylish, which means there are likely options that match your personal taste.
If you’re wondering how to make your home more energy-efficient, and ease the burden on your wallet in the process, here are several ways to get started.
For a quick win that takes no time at all, go through your home and take an inventory of your light fixtures, noting bulb sizes and wattage. Then take a trip to the local hardware store or home improvement center and load up on energy-efficient bulbs. There are many options, including type, light color, shape, and use. To avoid being overwhelmed by all the choices, the Department of Energy has a guide that explains the benefits of different bulb types.
Looking to take it a step further? Consider setting up connected lighting that you can control from a central hub. This type of setup allows you to:
- Automate lighting based on a predetermined schedule
- Enable voice or motion activation
- Control lighting remotely
According to CNET, “The trick is to pick a mix of products capable of working seamlessly throughout the house. Automating every bulb and switch in one pass is pretty unrealistic — the better approach is to start things off by building a connected lighting foundation that you’ll be able to build upon.”
So just remember, starting out small is ok as long as you plan for the long term. Focus first on areas in your home that get the most use so you can take greatest advantage of the changes you’ve made.
Since it was introduced in 1992, the Energy Star labelling program has made it easier for consumers to factor energy savings into their appliance purchases. And while it may seem like a small change, consider this statistic from their website: “ENERGY STAR certified products helped consumers save $23 billion in energy costs in 2015, contributing to cumulative energy cost savings of $246 billion since 1992.”
In addition to choosing energy-efficient appliances, you can also take advantage of your utility company’s off-peak rates. Often utility companies will charge customers a lower rate during certain hours (often after 7pm). Call your energy supplier to find out if they offer lower rates and when, and then run your dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer during those times. If you can hold off watching TV until then, even better!
Heating And Air Conditioning
One of the biggest energy expenses in your home, especially if you live in an area with extremely high or low temperatures, is likely climate control. Most of us have looked at the month-to-month energy usage graph on our bills and wondered how to control the spikes that occur throughout the year. But what can you do to minimize costs and be greener with your energy use?
First, think about your routine and set up an automated schedule on your thermostat. You can do this manually with inexpensive programmable thermostats that let you set the temperature at multiple hour intervals and days. That lets you avoid heating or cooling your home when no one’s there.
If you’re looking to make your home ‘smart’ as well as green, look at upgrading your thermostat to one that can learn your habits and build an automated climate control program around them. This doesn’t mean you give up total control, as you can make changes on the fly and control temperature remotely from your mobile device.
While there are additional areas you can look at to make your home greener—such as water use, composting, and recycling—these are the top three that will save you the most cash and have the biggest noticeable change on your utility bill. Happy saving!
Kara Parlin is a writer, editor, and content strategist who has regularly covered business technology during her 20-year career and is currently focused on IoT and remote access technology.