GREEN LIVING

Going Green Made Easy: One-time Solutions That Make a Lasting Impact

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Going green is no longer a fad for the minority. Whether you want to save the planet or save money, everyone can benefit from making energy-efficiency improvements at home.

If the one thing holding you back is the expense and time it will take to make changes, don’t worry. Some of the biggest energy improvements are the easiest and cheapest ones to make.

Opt for a Green Energy Plan

How clean is your energy plan? Today consumers in deregulated areas have options, including green energy plans. These electricity plans are unique in that they utilize wind and/or solar power instead of relying solely on fossil fuels. Some of the latest plans are now 100% clean energy.

The experts at electricity comparison site LocalElectricityCompanies.com suggest that customers consider a green energy plan because they provide the same reliable service at a similar price.

Programmable Thermostat

All it takes is a few minutes to cut your HVAC energy use by 15%, and you won’t have to change anything on your system. All you have to do is set up a programmable thermostat. This handy device allows you to create settings that will adjust the temperature automatically based on the day and time you specify.

Programmable thermostat best practices include:

  • ·  During the summer increase the temperature to 85 degrees Fahrenheit when you aren’t at home (as long as no pets are inside). Try keeping the temperature no higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home.
  • ·  During the winter decrease the temperature to 58 degrees Fahrenheit when you are away or asleep. Keep it at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home and awake.
  • ·  Put the temperature on energy efficiency settings for eight or more hours at a time for maximum benefit.

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

Switch out your old incandescent bulbs for LEDs or compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and you can save money every time you light up a room. Not only do they use a fraction of the electricity, LEDs and CFLs also last much, much longer. You won’t have to worry about changing these energy efficient bulbs again for 6+ years.

You can go one step further by purchasing smart CFLs that can be controlled and dimmed with an app.

Setting the Right Temperature on the Water Heater

There’s a huge energy consumer hiding in a closet or your garage right now. Most people don’t realize that the water heater accounts for roughly 17% of the electricity bill. But you can easily knock that back by lowering the temperature to an efficient setting.

The best temperature for comfort and efficiency is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t see degrees settings put the temperature on ‘low’. Energy specialists have been able to dramatically increase the efficiency of new water heaters. If your equipment is more than 10 years old replacing it can make an even bigger change.

Weatherize Around the Windows and Doors

Air leaks around the windows and doors is a huge energy waste. They let the outside air in and the temperature controlled air out. Weatherization is a simple, cheap fix for this problem.

Weatherstripping can be used around the inner edge of the door to create a solid seal. An inexpensive door sweep can ensure that there are no air leaks at the bottom of the door. Cracks and crevices around the frame of the doors and windows can be sealed with caulk. Some estimates have shown that weatherization can reduce energy use by as much as 30%.

Install Low-Flow Showerheads

Reduce water consumption and energy used to heat the water at the same time with a low-flow showerhead. Standard showerheads use up to four gallons per minute while efficient low-flow options use only two gallons a minute. Engineers for the state of Nebraska have created a great breakdown that shows you’ll save 650 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year if you use an electric water heater and 5,475 gallons of water per person a year.

In a single weekend you can easily make all of the eco-friendly home improvements above and enjoy knowing that you are living greener and cleaner every day.

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