According to the Department of Energy, the average American spends about $2,000 per year on energy costs. Much of this is spent on heating and cooling, powering appliances, and keeping the lights on. However, the Department of Energy estimates that up to 20%, or $400 per year is wasted on energy losses.
The good news is there is a way to address these energy losses. By making clean energy home upgrades, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and lower your energy costs. Making these changes may also make living at home more comfortable, which is another benefit of going green. So where should you begin? Start with these top 5 clean energy home upgrades:
Seal Air Leaks
In the summer, warm air can sneak into your home through small cracks and holes surrounding your doors and windows. In the winter, warm air can leak out of your home through these same spots. This means these small cracks and holes can force your heating and cooling system to consume more energy to keep you comfortable year-round.
To prevent these energy losses, take the time to seal these pesky air leaks. Use caulk to seal air leaks around stationary parts such as window or door frames. If you need to seal an air leak around something that moves, such as a front door, it’s best to use weatherstripping instead.
This home improvement project can be completed without the help of a professional, so it won’t cost a lot. By taking the time to seal your air leaks, you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 30%!
Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances
If you’re willing to invest in improving your home’s energy efficiency, you may want to consider buying new energy efficient appliances for your kitchen. It’s not hard to find appliances that are energy efficient–all you need to do is look for the ENERGY STAR® label.
The ENERGY STAR® label is only placed on appliances that have met strict energy efficiency requirements. By upgrading to these appliances, you can drastically reduce your home’s energy consumption.
For example, a typical ENERGY STAR® refrigerator is designed to use less energy than a standard 60-watt light bulb. An ENERGY STAR® freezer, on the other hand, uses about 10% less energy than other models.
You will have to cover the initial cost of buying these new appliances, but over time, they will pay for themselves by saving you money on your energy bills.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Upgrading to a smart thermostat is another easy way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. You can use a smart thermostat to preset heating and cooling schedules for your home.
For instance, set your thermostat so the heating and cooling system automatically turns off during the hours you are away at work. Then, program your thermostat to restart right before you get home.
This may not seem like a major change, but it can lead to significant savings. Turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours per day can reduce your annual energy costs by up to 10%.
Switch to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Replacing your existing light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs is perhaps the simplest way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. LED light bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. If you replace all of your light bulbs with these energy efficient bulbs, you can save hundreds of dollars per year.
However, you don’t need to buy dozens of energy efficient light bulbs to see a difference. If you want to take it slow, start by replacing the light bulbs in the five most frequently used light fixtures in your home.
Use Smart Power Strips
Many people aren’t aware that appliances and electronic devices that are plugged into an electrical outlet can continue to use energy even when they’re not in use. These devices are known as “energy vampires,” and they can drive up your energy costs.
Put a stop to these energy vampires by plugging devices into smart power strips. A smart power strip is designed to detect when a device is no longer in use. Then, it will automatically cut the power supply to the device, thus preventing it from wasting energy.
Smart power strips aren’t expensive, so you can make this clean energy home upgrade without breaking the bank.
Now you know what changes you can make to increase your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money on utility bills.