How To: Make Your Home More Green

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We all know a few ways to conserve energy at home, but with a little more effort you can really turn your house green.

For many households energy is wasted and electric bills go up because of one or more inefficient home components (windows, heating and cooling systems, and ducts insulation) or a failure to pay attention to product use directions. A good start is to look at these first for easy fixes, in addition to the following tips.

 

Air Circulation

  • Keep the cold air out. If you already have energy efficient windows (ask your parents if you do), great. If not, increase window energy efficiency by hanging insulating curtains or drapes. Also, you can place a towel along the window ledge in order to keep cold air out.
  • Keep doors and windows closed when using heating or cooling units.
  • Don’t blast the AC or heat. In the summer, try and keep the air conditioning around 78°F when you’re home, 68°F for winter. Each degree of heating or cooling can cost an additional four to five percent in energy costs. Your parents' wallets will thank you.
  • Clean and replace filters. An appliance with filters uses more energy if it's clogged. Get someone who knows what they're doing to check appliances, including heating and cooling systems. Don't forget about your hair dryer.
  • Give your air conditioner a break (or at least turn it down). By creating shade, you can save up to 8 percent of your cooling costs. Use shades, awnings, or sun screens to shade your home and windows. Even a tree or plant can do the trick.

 

Lighting

  • Brighten your room with better bulbs. Replace existing incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These lamps can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. Don't like the color of CFLs? Buy a paper lamp shade and paint the inside pink with nonflammable pink paint (it will make for softer light).
  • Use dimmer switches, timers, or motion sensors on incandescent lights if you have them.

 

Appliances

  • Shop for 'greener' appliances. If you or your parents are in the market for new appliances (such as a new washer or refrigerator), ask them to purchase “Energy Star” products. They’re really efficient and do a great job of saving energy.
  • Is your fridge running too hard? Fresh foods keep at 37 to 42°F, frozen foods at 0 to 5°F. Adjust the temp so it’s not too low.
  • Put your computer on "hibernate" mode. This way, every 30 min that you're away from the computer, it turns off, but not to the point where you have to restart everything once again. Easy. Simple. Energy efficient.
  • Fill the washer or dryer when doing your laundry. Don’t waste energy and water by only washing two pairs of socks when the machine could wash a lot more! 
  • Clean the dryer lint trap after each use. It's better for your clothes anyways.
  • Line-dry: Use a clothesline outside or a drying rack inside to air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer.
  • Dishwasher: Wash only full loads. Use the energy saver or air dry cycle.
  • Use the smallest pan necessary when you cook. Smaller pans require less energy.
  • Reduce cooking time by defrosting frozen foods in the refrigerator before cooking. The night before you want to cook something, throw it in the fridge and it'll be ready to go when you are.
  • Avoid excessive peeking into the oven. We know you're super excited about your batch of brownies, but each time the door is opened a significant amount of heat escapes.
  • In winter, open window coverings on sunny days to help warm the rooms. In summer, close them to help keep the room cool during the day.
  • Keep the fridge closed! We know the feeling of wanting something to munch on, opening the door to the fridge and staring off into space mumbling, "There's nothing to eat." That's got to stop. Opening the door wastes a lot of energy and is costly.

 

Water

  • Speed-shower: The average eight-minute shower uses 17 gallons of water. A family of four could save over 2,300 gallons of water a year by shortening every shower by just 1 minute. 
  • Water heater: Ask your parents to lower the water heater temperature.
  • Shower-head: Install a low-flow shower head to save money and water.
  • Cold-wash: Wash your clothes with cold water. It's easier on the fabric and 85 percent of the washing machine's energy goes into heating the water, yikes. 
  • Still drinking bottled water at home? Purify your tap water with a water filter and lose the plastic.

 

Check out these terms on energy conservation. GO

Source: Permafrost OnlineGreen Home GuidePower Score CardLowes