We belong to the indoor generation – is the conclusion of a recent American survey which found that 1 in 4 Americans is happy to spend the whole day at home. Why not? After all, your home is your refuge from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, a place where you can relax and recharge your body and soul.
And now it seems that we might be staying indoors a lot more, at least until the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
To make the most out of the time you spend at home, you should consider implementing a few small changes to make your home more energy-efficient. Why? A typical household in the U.S. spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills, not to mention the negative environmental impact.
Here’s how you can start your journey towards turning your home into a green, energy-efficient oasis:
1. Light up with energy-efficient lightbulbs
When you need to buy new light bulbs, replace them with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). LED lightbulbs consume only a quarter of the energy used by incandescent lighting and last 25 times longer. If you are not a fan of the bright operating-room-like fluorescent lighting, you can pick from a range of softer / warmer tones of LEDs. Need more reasons? LEDs are able to operate at any power strength from 1 to 100%, so you can easily dim the lights to achieve the cozy candlelight effect.
2. Unplug with a smart power strip
You have probably heard that your turned-off appliances, be it maps, laptops or a stereo continue consuming electricity if you keep them plugged in. When added up, it can cost you extra dollars on your utility bills each month. Consider getting a smart power strip, which shuts off power flowing to electronics on stand-by, avoiding the phantom electricity losses. Statistics vary, but you should be able to save between 5 – 10% of your monthly electric bill.
3. Create your indoor jungle
Close your eyes. Imagine that you are in a rainforest, surrounded by the greenery of exotic looking plants. You feel a light breeze. A hummingbird is chirping in the background. The good news? You can recreate this feeling in your home with the right selection of plants, which will not only transport you to an imaginary jungle but will reduce your electric bill too. How? Some indoor plants such as aloe vera, golden pothos and gerbera daisies release moisture and moist air is better at trapping in heat. Your home will stay cooler during the hot summer days and you won’t have to turn on the air-conditioning.
4. Stay in control with a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat will automatically turn off or reduce the heating and cooling of your living space when you are away or asleep and can save you up to $180 per year. Some newer versions can learn your daily routines and program themselves, like this Nest thermostat from Google. In addition, they usually come with clever apps that allow you to check your thermostat and adjust your home temperature from anywhere, as long as you have Wi-Fi.
5. Bask in the sun with a solar panel
Solar panels efficiently convert the sun’s energy into electricity that can be used to power your home. Form the environmental perspective, generating your own clean energy will help you reduce your carbon footprint, while also reducing your electric bill. True, installing solar panels is costly and it will take some time before you get a return on your investment. However, if you are willing (and able) to play the long game, solar panels are a great way to protect against rising energy costs and even earn money with Feed-In-Tariffs by getting paid for the excess energy that you don’t use. Alternatively, you can subscribe to community solar programs, or “shared solar gardens” that allow you to reap the benefits of solar energy without the hassle of installing a panel.
6. Switch power suppliers
There are currently 18 U.S. states with competitive energy marketplaces, driving the electricity rates in these deregulated states below the U.S. average. If you currently live in a deregulated state, you can switch your electric supplier and reduce the price you pay for electricity. Switching suppliers is easy, secure and it often involves only a few clicks of your computer mouse. In addition, most suppliers offer additional perks to win you over – attractive rewards programs, complimentary smart thermostats or 100% renewable energy rates.
If you follow the above tips, you will make your home greener and more efficient, which will soon get reflected in your utility bills. Don’t get overwhelmed by doing all of it at once. It’s probably a good idea to pick one project and kick start your journey towards home energy efficiency.
Author: A. Pavelekova