Energy-efficient light bulbs are a product that may cost a little extra up front, but will pay off tremendously in the long run. The cheap, incandescent bulbs of years past are no more due to new efficiency standards, but there are three far more efficient choices that are more than capable of taking their place.
1. Eco-Incandescent Light Bulbs
A more energy-efficient version of the basic incandescent bulb, these bulbs cost around $1.50 a piece and will last for a little under a year, using 43 watts of energy.
2. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
CFLs cost a little bit more, coming in at about $2 a bulb, but they’re well worth it. CFLs last for 11 years and only use 13 watts of energy.
3. LED Bulbs
LED bulbs are the best money can buy. They’re way more expensive than the others at $8 a bulb, but they also last much longer—a whopping 22 years while only using 11 watts of energy.
Replacing major appliances is a bit more of a substantial investment than simply buying new light bulbs, but you’ll see the benefits in your utility bills right away, and the money you’ll save will add up to an impressive sum over time. First steps? Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. Replacing an older, inefficient appliance with a newer one that carries the ENERGY STAR label could save you over $60 a year per appliance on average. You can calculate how much money replacing an old appliance could save you in the long run at EnergyStar.gov.
Solar panels are one of the first things that come to mind when you hear the words “eco-friendly” or “green,” but many people don’t know how big of an investment they really are. However, while they can be expensive, there’s potential for big savings, although there are a lot of factors that play into exactly how big those savings could be. Factors such as where you live, how much sunlight hits your roof each day, how much electricity you use currently, and how much you pay for that electricity all play a role in how much money you’ll be able to save by switching to solar energy. Lucky for us, there are solar calculators online that can tell you just about how much a solar array will cost you, and how much it’ll save you over 20 years, just by answering a few simple questions.
Low-flow shower head
It isn’t common to think of your shower head as one of the main culprits of driving your water bill sky high, but it sure should be. Did you know that many older shower heads put out 4–5 gallons of water per minute? Yep, that means your half-hour-long shower concerts could be using up to 150 gallons of water! Now, doesn’t that sound just a tad bit excessive? Low-flow shower heads put out as little as 1.5 gallons per minute and still provide a nice, forceful shower. They can be priced anywhere from $10 to $200 depending on your taste, but they’re super easy to install and will help your water conservation efforts greatly while saving you money every day.
Wash dishes more efficiently
Washing dishes efficiently really comes down to two rules: pack the dishwasher every time you use it and hand wash all your large pots, pans, and dishes. When you run your dishwasher, it should never be a half load. It’s wasteful and inefficient, and you’ll pay for it at the end of the month. Want to take it a step further? Turn off the “heat dry” setting and let your dishes air dry. When you hand wash your larger dishes, you’ll leave more room for the smaller dishes to fill up the dishwasher. Also, you’ll use the dishwasher considerably less if you wash and dry these larger items yourself.
Install a programmable thermostat
The USDE estimates that you can save up to 10% on your energy bill just by installing a programmable thermostat. This project could be a little more complicated, but programmable thermostats come with instructions so you don’t get lost or confused with what you’re doing. The main thing to remember about heating and cooling is the more you can turn your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer, the more you’re going to save. Don’t be afraid to reach a little with the temperatures. If it’s too cold in your house during the winter, try throwing on a sweater before you run to the thermostat. Program the thermostat to drop/raise temperatures while you’re not home, then bring them back to normal just before you return. It’ll take some extra planning, but for a $70 investment, a programmable thermostat is well worth it. If you want to go the extra mile, you can automate your entire home and program your lights and electronics along with your thermostat.
We’ve learned since middle school science classes that heat rises, and it turns out the textbooks weren’t lying! According to the USDE, the attic is where most of your home’s heat escapes to because most homes don’t have enough insulation up there to keep it from getting out, so it just floats. Fiberglass insulation is pretty cheap and easy to install, even if you don’t have any home improvement experience. Is it worth it though? Well, ENERGY STAR estimates that you can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs by effectively insulating your home. Sounds like a good way to go.
Have you made any eco-friendly adjustments to your home to save money?
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