6 Money-Saving Ways To Green Your Home

6 Money-Saving Ways To Green Your Home
  • Opening Intro -

    As we greet 2011 with a renewed zeal to shed pounds and adopt healthier, more energy-efficient lifestyles, we also bid a sad farewell to the generous home improvement tax credits that quietly expired on New Years Eve, 2010.

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As the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy reminds us, home improvement tax incentives for 2011 will essentially fall back to levels last seen between 2005 and 2008.

In short, the days of saving 30% of the cost of buying and installing an energy saving device in your home to a maximum savings of $1500.00 are over. Home owners can now expect to see a 10% savings on the costs of most energy upgrades with savings capped at anywhere from $150.00 to $500.00.

The net effect of the new restrictions is that making your home more energy efficient through major upgrades just got a lot more expensive. However, in focusing upon the big ticket items, such as furnaces, major appliances, solar panels or double paned windows, there’s a real tendency to overlook the little things we can do to conserve energy, things which, when taken together can add up to serious savings of both energy and money.

Here then are 6 easy ways to make your home and your wallet greener, literally over a single weekend.

1. Watch that thermostat:

While none of us likes to be uncomfortable at home it’s not the thermostats job to keep us that way. On warmer days set the thermostat to 78 degrees and wear light weight loose fitting clothing. You’ll take extra comfort in knowing you’re saving 10-20% on cooling costs. When you’re not at home set the thermostat to 85% and save an extra 5-12%. In cooler weather, put on a sweater or sweatshirt, keeping in mind that every degree you lower your thermostat can save you 1-3% on your heating bill.

2. Watch the washer:

It seems counterintuitive but, with a few exceptions, when washing clothes cold water works just as well as hot water. Of course it’s wise to check the labels for washing recommendations to make sure clothes are washed properly so as not to shrink, bleed, or fade. Just remember that 85% of the cost of doing a load of laundry comes from heating the water. (NOTE: Be sure to only run the washer or dishwasher when full. For added savings, turn off the dishwasher’s heated dry setting.)

3. Say “goodbye” to bottled water:

Although suppliers of bottled water are attempting to eliminate waste by churning out thinner plastic bottles, many are already so thin that they crush and spill their contents in the simple act of unscrewing the cap. Although bottled water can play an important role in relieving human suffering, if you have access to clean, drinkable water just by turning on a tap, maybe it’s time to toss the plastic bottle for good. With an abundance of water filters on the market which are economical and easy to install, and a host of reusable containers designed for drinking water, getting off the bottle has never been easier or better for the environment.

4. Don’t refuse to reuse:

Face it. We live in a disposable society. Many of us also love our morning coffee and think nothing of throwing away our disposable coffee filters. After all, we buy them because they’re disposable. Too bad our caffeinated brains fail to recognize that reusable coffee filters, while only costing $5-$10 can last for years, saving the environment a substantial amount of paper and us a fair amount of money. If we apply this same logic to other traditionally disposal items such as diapers, napkins and paper towels, although there would be more loads of laundry, the environmental and monetary savings would be well worth the effort.

5. Demand Second Hand:

We already know that buying a used car over a new one is a smart economic investment. It’s also good for the environment, being that it takes a lot more energy to produce a brand new car than to maintain a used one. But what about other items we buy brand new? Once you adopt the mindset that not everything you own has to be brand new when you buy it you are opening yourself up to the possibility of saving hundreds of dollars a year. By shopping at weekend garage sales or second hand stores you can often find like new furniture, clothing and other household items in like new condition for a fraction of their original retail cost. You are also doing the environment a favor by recycling items that are often relegated too soon to landfills.

6. Never Buy What You Can Make:

Cleaning products are consumables that constantly cut into the family budget. So why not make your own cleaning products, or at least some of them? A little vinegar, baking soda and bar soap, used in various combinations can clean all kinds of household items and areas every bit as well as the latest and greatest high priced store bought brand. Running low on laundry detergent? Try making your own. Take one bar of soap, grate it up with some washing soda and borax (both of which are inexpensive and readily available at the grocery store) and you have clean fresh smelling clothes…even in cold water.

About the Author: Jason Carter is a freelance writer for Parks Edge Park City. A townhouse or condo at Park’s Edge makes a perfect Park City home. The Park City real estate value makes it a great investing opportunity, the views are fantastic and these Park City vacation homes offer a great value. The weather is great in the summer and the skiing is amazing in the winter.

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Categories: Green Home

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Krayton M Davis

Executive Manager: LetsRenovate Team