It's Earth Day once again. That means it's time to join together to recognize how we can make the world a better, healthier place. While there are a variety of ways to participate, a great place to start is by maximizing the energy efficiency of your home. Today we’re going to talk about some quick tips on how to update your home that can help you save your wallet, as well as the planet.
Plant Shade In Your Yard
This tip is about as literal as you can get. Plant trees in areas where your home gets the most direct sunlight. The shade from the trees will help naturally cool your home in the summer months and will help reduce the cost of your air conditioning bills. Coincidentally, in preparation for the celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary in 2020, the Earth Day Network has set a goal to plant 7.8 billion trees around the world by the milestone anniversary. Help contribute to this number and save on your energy bill by planting a tree!
Update Your Insulation
HVAC professionals agree a properly insulated home is one of the best ways to save on your heating and cooling bills. When you install proper insulation, you can save between 10 - 20% on your energy bills. If you’re unsure of whether or not you need to update your insulation, consider hiring a professional to conduct an energy audit. This audit will show you if and where there are gaps in your insulation, and your water heater and furnace will also be examined at this time to ensure everything is working correctly.
Check Your Windows
Improperly insulated windows are one of the significant sources of energy loss in your home. Consider updating your current windows with vinyl frames and double- or triple-paned, argon-filled glass. Both the vinyl frame and the argon-filled glass serve as excellent insulators for your home. Additionally, if you’re considering putting your home on the market over the next few years, this could increase the resale value.
Update Your Light Bulbs
If you’re using incandescent bulbs, consider switching to fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Although fluorescent light bulbs are slightly more expensive, they last about 12 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and can have a positive effect on your home’s energy usage.
Use Your ChiliPad At Night
Although this isn’t a traditional energy-efficiency tip, it should not go unnoticed. If you sleep hot or cool and use the temperature-controlled comfort of a ChiliPad, you could be positively influencing your heating and cooling bill without realizing it. When you’re directly controlling your sleep temperature with your ChiliPad, it eliminates the need to set your thermostat to heat or cool your entire home. As an example, central air conditioners typically range from 3500 – 5000 watts, and in the summer months run on average of 9 hours per day. The ChiliPad operates at 100 watts per side when cooling. If a ChiliPad ran for about 6 hours overnight on both sides, there would be a total energy consumption of about 1200 watts. If your central air was scaled back just 30% during the evening hours, this would reduce the watt consumption and save over 8,250 watts, or a 26% total savings of energy cooling costs. To estimate your central air energy consumption visit the Energy Use Calculator.
Earth Day isn't the only time of year to focus making your home and life more energy efficient. Whether you change your light bulbs and windows, strategically plant trees in your yard or use your ChiliPad to save money on your energy bills, there are a variety of ways to honor Earth Day year-round and improve your home.