|Not everyone needs to build a new house to make their current one energy efficient. In fact, remodeling, or just making simple improvements, is often the most sustainable way you can go. Fixing the house you have, rather than building a new one, reduces the amount of new materials that need to be produced, disposal of debris is minimized, and you are, by definition, reusing and recycling. Not all houses can be remodeled, it may be too expensive, and the desired end might not be achievable, but look into itit may be best for you and the planet. Below are a few ideas that might help with energy saving. PLEASE email us on the feedback button to send us your suggestions for other tips. We are all on the same path, even if some of us do not recognize it.|
|• Change to CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs. You can add them as your old ones go out or buy all new ones. Your electricity bill will go down! Do not believe the misinformation being spread about CFL's. The www.treehugger.com search box will answer your questions about them.
• Measure your energy use and challenge yourself to get it down. A Kill-A-Watt meter ( $30) or Power-Cost Monitor, (ca. $150), among others, are devices that can easily measure how much energy your household appliances and electronic devices use.
• Check for (at least) Energy Star rated appliances when you need to buy new ones, especially the refrigerator and washer/dryer. Look for lower energy using TV's, computers, etc.
• Add deciduous vines (example/hops) to the south side of the home for a cheap way to cool in summer.
• Vacuum coils on refrigerator once a month may save up to 10% on it's electric cost.
• Replace old thermostats with Energy Star ones.
• Hanging clothes outside to dry or using a line inside the house will bring good energy ($) savings on bill.
• Add insulation in attics, walls, basements, and in crawl spaces.
• Seal around the can lights in the ceiling. Much heat escapes from them.
• Add a piping light (example/ Solatube) in the roof for free daylight. This is cheap to do!
• Change a few (or more) windows to new energy efficient ones.
• Replace the old water heater with a new tankless one.
• Plug in a power strip to groups of electronic gadgets in order to easily turn them off when not in use (phantom loads add many $ on your bill). The Department of Energy reports that 75% of your electric appliance energy cost happens when the devices are on standby!
• Put a water heater blanket on the water heater.
• Caulk around windows, replace old weather strips on doors.
• Get insulated curtains and use them.
• Add a radiant barrier, such as Reflectix to rafters in the attic.
"A Radiant Barrier is your best line of defense for keeping excess heat out of your attic in the summer or keeping your floors warm in the winter. Stapled under the rafters or joists, it reflects 97% of the radiant heat that strikes it. The non-profit Florida Solar Energy Center has shown that an attic radiant barrier can reduce air conditioning costs by at least 20%. Performance in drier climates is even better. This product is perforated, and won't become an unintentional moisture barrier. In order to function properly it must have an air space on at least one side. It doesn't matter if it's the hot or cold side. When the heat source is above the radiant heater it performs equivalent to R-14." The Real Goods Company