Going green doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Here are 12 ways you can go green in your Scottsdale home today—and most won’t cost anything but a few minutes of your time.
Turn it down
By setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in warmer weather, you can reduce your energy consumption and save on your electric bill. Plus, for every degree you set your thermostat below 68 or above 78 during each season, you can save an additional 3 to 5 percent. Install a programmable thermostat to maximize the savings.
Another way to reduce energy consumption is to lower the thermostat setting on your water heater. For each 10 degrees you decrease the temperature, you can save 3 to 5 percent in energy costs.
Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators mix air into your water allowing you to use less water without sacrificing water pressure. You can purchase a low-flow showerhead or faucet for less than $15 and easily install it yourself on a Saturday morning. A family of four can save more than $250 per year on their water bill by adding one low-flow showerhead in the house.
Change your bulbs
Replacing just one incandescent bulb for compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or LED prevents the emission of over 400 pounds of greenhouse gasses and can keep your home cooler. Plus, they last longer. A LED bulb, for example, can last 25 times longer than a traditional 60-watt light bulb. So, although you’ll have to pay a little more per bulb upfront with either alternative, you won’t have to replace them as often- saving you money in the long run.
Plant a tree
Trees can keep your home shaded and cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plant trees on the western and southern sides of your home so their leaves provide shade in the summer and, if the leaves drop, allow sun to warm your house in the winter. Native trees are best since they will thrive in the climate.
You can also reduce your water consumption by xeriscaping, replacing non-native foliage with landscaping that requires little or no irrigation or maintenance.
That drip, drip, drip is more than just annoying—it’s also a waste of water. Don’t let those drops add up to gallons. As soon as you notice a leak, hire someone to fix it, or if you’re handy, tackle the project yourself.
Faucets aren’t the only thing that leak. The seals around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and elsewhere can let warm air in and cool air out (not to mention critters you don’t want around). You can fix them easily yourself with weather stripping and caulk. Tip: Hire a certified home energy rater to perform an energy audit of your home.
Pull the plug
Believe it or not, it costs you money to leave your coffee maker or VCR plugged in all day because, even though they are not in use, they are still using energy. While it may not be much, when you consider that energy multiplied by the number of devices and appliances in your house, it adds up. According to the Energy Star website, the average U.S. household spends more than $100 each year on the “energy vampires” in the home. Unplug yours on the way out the door.
Replace your furnace filters
Your HVAC can’t work efficiently when it’s clogged up by months of dust. As a result, you may be wasting energy and paying higher energy bills if you don’t change or clean your filters regularly. Typically, fiberglass filters should be replaced on a monthly basis while permanent filters need to be cleaned regularly.
Choose the cold cycle
Roughly 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water when you choose to wash your clothes in the hot or warm cycle. Instead, stick to the cold cycle. Today’s washers and laundry detergents make it possible to get even whites clean in cold water.
Buy local produce
Most of the produce in your grocery store travels a long way to get to you. When you consider how much gas it takes to ship them your way along with all the pollutants and greenhouse-gas emissions, you might want to reconsider picking up those carrots at the store.
Instead, buy what you can at local farmers markets. The produce there is not only fresher but has traveled typically 100 miles or less to get to you and you’re supporting local businesses. Bring your own reusable bags to further the green benefits.
Going green is as easy as being aware of your daily habits and willing to change them. For more tips on how to make your home more energy efficient, give us a call at The Matheson Team today to chat about the options in your present or future Scottsdale home.