Homes consume 21% of all energy costs in the US, and of that energy used they are wasting up to 30% of it. To help you stop wasting energy and start saving money, check out these simple, eco-friendly ways to take the cash you’ve saved from being energy efficient and reinvest it around your home in other money saving upgrades.
1. Adjust Your Water Heater – Turn the temperature settings down to where the tap water isn’t scalding and wash clothes in cold water. For every 10 degrees you turn down your water heater you can save between 3-5% on your energy costs.
- Cost savings: $30-$475 (varies on regional energy costs)
- How to reinvest: Install a Recirculation Pump (cost around $200 and you can typically install yourself) to keep hot water readily available and cut down on the heating and reheating cycle that occurs in your water heater.
2. Switch to energy efficient lighting (CFL, LED or halogens) – Instead of energy wasting incandescent bulbs. Older bulbs waste 90% of the energy they put off. Newer LEDs or CFLs last up to 10 times longer and can save between 25-75% of energy costs.
- Cost Savings: Switching 15 incandescent bulbs out with CFLs will save you about $50 per year.
- How to reinvest: Buy power strips for electronics. They are about $10 each and you’ll see in the next step just how they can help save you money in the future.
- Cost Savings: $100
- How to reinvest: Buy solar landscaping lights. Typically you can get a pack of 24 for $100. Line the walkway to your home or put them in the backyard.
- Cost Savings: $100-$300. Depending on the region, you can save between 20-60% on water bills.
- How to reinvest: Buy a programmable thermostat. They cost around $50 and they can save about $180 per year.
3. Use power strip for electronics – You have to turn the strips off for it to make a difference! The phantom power loss per household in one year can equal 10% of a home’s energy usage.
4. Use a rain barrel (~$100) to collect rain water – Reuse the saved water to irrigate the lawn or garden. Think about it. We pay tax dollars to have water treated so that it is drinkable. Then we use that treated water for the lawn. It’s a waste of more than your own dollars. It is wasting tax dollars.