Here are some eco-friendly and energy-saving tips to consider.
Air conditioning and heating account for more than half of the home energy bill. To trim that:
1. Change filters regularly on the air-conditioning and heating unit.
2. Adjust the thermostat. Raising the temperature just one degree saves 7 percent to 10 percent on cooling costs.
3. Install a programmable thermostat.
4. Choose a more energy-efficient air-conditioning unit. The higher the seasonal energy efficiency, or SEER, rating, the more efficient the unit. Look for a rating of 13 or greater.
5. Replace the clothes washer, dishwasher, refrigerator and dryer with Energy Star appliances.
6. Add ceiling fans and portable fans to help circulate the air and cut down on air conditioner use.
7. Add attic insulation.
8. Add a ridge vent on the roof to lower temperatures in the attic.
9. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents.
10. Replace compact fluorescent lights with light-emitting diode, LED, tiny light bulbs that fit into an electrical circuit. They use one-third the energy and last five times longer than CFLs.
11. Consider a tank-less or instantaneous water heater.
12. Replace an electric water heater with a natural-gas water heater.
13. Set water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
14. Install the water heater near the kitchen.
15. Buy a wind turbine if you’re in a rural area.
16. Plant trees on the west, south and east sides to shade the house.
17. Replace windows with Energy Star ones.
18. Add solar screens.
19. Wash laundry in warm or cold water and rinse in cold water.
20. Clean the dryer’s lint filter after every load.
21. Choose a light-colored roof to decrease heat transferred to the attic.
22. Buy a roof made of “cool” shingles.
23. Add a durable metal roof.
24. Purchase rooftop solar shingles to help offset your energy use.
25. Purchase a rooftop photo-voltaic solar system.
26. Consider carpets made from corn fiber or wool. Some carpets release volatile organic compounds, VOCs.
27. Clean with vinegar and products free of phosphates, chlorine and petroleum distillates.
28. Install counter tops made of bamboo.
29. Choose counter tops made of recycled glass.
30. Consider reclaimed wood flooring.
31. Opt for cork floors.
32. Use concrete for counter tops or floors.
33. Buy linoleum made of linseed oil, cork and jute.
34. Use unbleached paper for paper towels and coffee filters.
35. Consider milk-based paint.
36. Use acrylic paint that gives off low volatile organic compounds.
37. Run full loads of laundry and in the dishwasher.
38. Consider adding plumbing to recycle gray water from sinks and tubs to toilets.
39. Replace toilets with low-flow or dual-flush models.
40. Repair dripping faucets promptly.
41. Install low-flow shower heads on showers and aerators on faucets.
42. Install a water softener to minimize mineral deposits and prolong the life of the water heater.
43. Inspect sprinkler systems for leaks.
44. Collect rainwater to water plants and lawn.
45. Buy energy-efficient LEDs for exterior light. Bonus: They don’t attract bugs.
46. Xeriscape. Plant drought-tolerant shrubs and perennials and give them the proper amount of sunlight.
47. Start a compost pile. Not only does composting recycle kitchen waste, the end product is a nourishing amendment for gardens and planting beds.
48. Use a manual lawn mower.
49. Leave grass clippings on your yard as mulch.
50. Reduce the size of your lawn.