There are a number of home improvements that are both energy efficient and economically good investments. Some improvements decrease water consumption while others reduce electricity and gas usage. Making these eight home improvements will help you to save energy and money.
Planting deciduous trees, the type of tree that loses its leaves in the fall, will add curb appeal to your property, provide you with privacy, and save energy and money. The tree’s shade in the summer will help to cool the house and the air conditioning system. Just as your skin cools when you perspire, the air is cooled when the water on the tree’s leaves evaporates.
Use Advanced Power Strips
Power strips are a convenient way to provide energy for multiple devices. With traditional power strips, however, even if you turn off the devices, they will still consume some power. According to the United States Department of Energy, up to 10% of energy costs are a result of this situation. To resolve this problem, use advanced power strips. With advanced power strips, when the devices are not in use, they do not use any electricity.
Invest in Technology to Remotely Control Home Appliances
Ever realized you left the lights on in a room when you went on vacation? Or have you ever wished you good turn off the central heating in your home while your away at work but don’t because the house will be too cold when you get home? Thankfully today these are more easily overcome concerns with the ability to remotely control an increasing number of appliances. In the video below from HeritageHills.com (source: http://www.heritagehillscolorado.com/home-technology), check out how the new homes in their development can be largely monitored and managed remotely via an iPad.
Purchase Energy-Efficient Dishwashers and Washing Machines
To save energy and money, purchase dishwashers and washing machines with the Energy Star label. According to the United States Department of Energy, dishwashers with the Energy Star label, use 31% less electricity and 33% less water. Also, use a shorter wash cycle. The latest washing machines use less water than older models. In addition, whenever possible, use cold water to wash clothes. This will reduce the electricity needed to heat the water.
Install a Low-Flow Toilet
According to the American Water Works Association, each person in the average household uses approximately 20 gallons of water a day flushing the toilet. Toilets manufactured prior to 1995 use approximately five gallons of water per flush. The low-flow toilets that were first put on the market often required more than one flush per use. Since then, the performance of low-flow toilets, which use about 1.6 gallons of water per flush, has improved significantly.
Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Federal regulations now require that showerheads have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If you have a showerhead that was manufactured prior to 1992, it will have a flow rate of about 5.5 gallons per minute. To determine if you could use a low-flow showerhead, place a bucket of water in the shower or tub and run the water at the pressure you usually use. If it takes less than 20 seconds to fill the bucket, you should consider installing a low-flow showerhead. Also, taking shorter showers will save energy and money.
Check for leaky faucets, showerheads, and pipes. Even one drip a second will cause a waste of energy and money. According to the American Water Works Association, 60 drips of water a minute add up to 3,100 gallons of water annually.
Awnings will not only make your home more attractive, but they will also save energy and money. The awnings manufactured today are made to last. They are made of acrylic and polyvinyl, are water repellant, and don’t fade. To reflect the sun, install light-colored awnings with a tight weave. Buy awnings that can be rolled up in winter to let the sunlight in.
Planting trees, using advanced power strips, installing remote control technology, purchasing energy-efficient dishwashers and washing machines, installing low-flow toilets and showerheads, repairing leaks, and adding awnings are eight home improvements that will save energy and money. You’ll reduce your energy expenses while doing your part to save the planet.