Worldwatch Institute’s American Energy Report concluded; the energy use per dollar of gross national product (GNP) has decreased by 49% since 1970. This shows a lot of progress, however, we still have a long way to go. Our energy use per dollar of GNP is still almost twice that of other industrialized countries.
A growing section of the industry is “green homes”, although it is currently a small part of the industry, it is worth noting. McGraw-Hill Construction did market research that reported those who switched to a green home, were 85% happier with it than their previous, non-green home. Because these homes are so new and still fairly expensive, some families are turning to “green renovations” to experience similar energy and financial savings, while reducing their carbon footprint. Half of the homes in the US have undergone a recent renovation, of those, 40% used green products in the remodel.
The highest motivating factor listed by those who were “going green” was to save money. The second highest was to help contribute to a cleaner environment and healthier future. A limiting factor listed by many households was the assumed initial investment and payoff time for “going green”. The good news is, there are many, low-cost options that you can implement today and start seeing savings within a couple of months!
1. Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFL’s or LED’s
(Always you make sure you recycle your old light bulbs!). CFL’s can last 10x longer and use 75% less energy than incandescents. LED bulbs last 3-5x longer than CFL’s and are mercury free.
2. Upgrade your thermostat to a programmable one.
It could save you up to $150/year!
Even better, purchase a thermostat that can be controlled via smart phones and WiFi, to make sure you are saving the most money possible, even when you aren’t home.
3. Water: Less is More
Installing low-flow shower heads and/or toilets is a good option, especially for big families.
4. Insulate & Isolate
Making sure your home’s walls and attic are well insulated can save a lot of energy that is diverted to heating and air conditioning. Appliances that are not isolated in the house create a great deal of wasted energy not only hurting the environment but also a great deal of wasted money.
5. Turn Down The Hot Water!
Simply turning down the maximum temperature on your water heater can help with savings, usually, the temperature is higher than it needs to be anyway. (Replacing your major household appliances with energy-efficient ones is another great option, but can be more costly.)
6. Let It Grow
Planting trees around your home and near windows can help shade it and keep it cool during hot summer months. (Replacing windows and doors with energy efficient ones is another option, but can be more costly.)