Many homeowners have searched for ways to lower energy bills without inconveniencing their household. But have you ever stopped to think about how much of an impact your energy usage is having beyond your own home? Or how going green can reduce stress on the environment and your budget?
Going green with appliances and insulation go hand in hand with saving. While some environmentally-friendly upgrades require an initial upfront investment, they have the potential to pay off big time later on. Your financial benefits could include tax credits, rebates, and a lower utility bill.
Why not go the extra mile and save a few bucks on your energy needs while reducing your impact on our planet? Go green, save green, and leave a smaller carbon footprint with these home improvement ideas.
Choose Energy Star Appliances
Most homeowners accustomed to the convenience of modern appliances don’t want to go back to washing all dishes by hand in the sink, or having to haul clothes and linens to the laundromat in order to do laundry. You don’t have to cut machines that eat up electricity altogether to go green. Instead, upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. This is the easiest upgrade most people think of when asking themselves what they could do to cut their electric usage.
While upgrading all your appliances at once can be costly, you can strategically plan to replace pieces one by one. Start with the oldest appliance you have, or the one that sucks that most energy. You can run some numbers to see if you would come out ahead by making an investment in newer, more energy efficient models, especially if your appliances are on the older side.
Pay Attention to Your Usage
Simply increasing your awareness of how often you use electricity and hot water in your home can do wonders. Maximize your potential savings by getting in the “green” mindset. Remember, what’s good for the environment is good for your wallet!
Pay more attention to your energy usage and cut down on waste by keeping the following in mind:
● Don’t leave lights on in empty rooms. Try timers for things like lamps if you’re not home.
● Don’t leave the TV on when no one is watching.
● Fix leaky, drippy faucets and shut off water when you’re not actively using it.
● Only run the dishwasher when it’s fully loaded.
● Wash as much laundry as you can in cold water (and just like the dishwasher, only do laundry when there are full loads to be washed).
● Don’t leave electronics plugged into sockets when they’re not in use; even devices that are powered off still draw out power from the plug.
You could also save money by investing in power strips for smaller kitchen appliances and electronic chargers. This helps you manage all your gadgets that run on electric power; by hooking everything up to a central location, it makes it easier to control any energy leaks that may be occurring.
Insulate Your Home
According to Energystar.gov, many homes in America aren’t insulated properly. If your home isn’t well insulated, your money could literally be going out the window any time you turn on the heat or A/C if the air isn’t staying within the walls of your home.
As a quick fix, check the caulking and weatherstripping around your windows and exterior doors. For larger fixes, here’s what you’ll want to focus on:
Windows: Double-pane windows are becoming the standard in housing today. Consider upgrading single-pane windows in older homes. Energyguide.com has a useful guide on which windows provide the best insulation.
Walls: If you have a home renovation in mind, checking on the insulation in your walls can make a difference. You don’t want to go tearing down drywall unnecessarily, but if you’re in there, go ahead and add in insulation as appropriate.
Attic: Insulating your attic doesn’t take nearly as much work, and provides a bigger return on investment as it will greatly help to regulate the temperature in your home. Check to see what type of insulation is currently in the attic. If you have R-30, you can upgrade to R-38 or blown-in insulation (R-40).
Roof: Undertaking a large project such as repairing your roof will be expensive, but energy-
friendly options are available when it’s time to replace it. There are a lot of future savings involved if you choose the right material. Radiant barrier OSB (oriented strand board) or “cool” shingles are popular choices offered by many brands.
While solar energy panels started off as an expensive form of lowering your electric usage, prices have come down in recent years. An article on Forbes highlights all you need to know about adding solar panels to your house. This is one upgrade that is sure to pay off in a multitude of ways: you’ll be reducing your energy dependency on the grid (which helps the environment), you’ll save on monthly expenses, and you’ll add value to your home.
Go Green and Save Green
To top off the savings you’ll receive on your utility bills, tax credits and rebates are being offered to those that choose to support the environment. You may also receive a discount from your home insurance provider if you make green upgrades to your home.
All of these upgrades will increase your energy savings, and many will increase the value of your home. It’s a win-win solution.
While you might be hesitant to make the initial investment, look at how much you’ll be saving in a few years. To make it easier, prioritize which upgrades will net you the best return on investment, and start saving for them in that order. Your wallet (and the environment) will be thanking you soon enough.
Rates are currently at lows for the year, if you are looking to buy a new home or refinance your current loan, now would be the time. Contact the experts at Total Mortgage to find out how much you can save toady.