by: Nancy Turbyfill
Want to save money and help the environment at the same time? Follow these easy tips to help put the green in your home AND your wallet:
• Add up to 12 of your energy bills and divide the total in half, and that’s about what it costs to heat and cool your home. That’s right, your central air conditioner and heater (called HVAC) – whether it’s in your garage, a closet or the attic – costs you and the planet more than ALL of your other appliances combined. So how we use this important appliance makes a big green difference.
• We often remember to turn the lights off when we leave, but it’s even more important to remember to adjust that thermostat too! For maximum green savings, turn the thermostat to OFF when you leave. If anyone tried to tell you it costs more to cool your home back down or heat it back up when you return, the laws of physics prove otherwise, and you can Google the scientific explanation.
• When you’re home, set the thermostat to 78 degrees for cooling and 68 degrees for heating. Consider a smart thermostat! Your HVAC professional can install one, and you’re only an app away from controlling your home’s temperature from your smart phone.
• Use ceiling fans and put the wind chill factor to work. Ceiling fans make you feel cooler in the summer – at least 3 degrees. They only cost about a penny per hour to operate, far less than your central air conditioner. If you don’t have ceiling fans, install them. If you already have them, use them. However, keep in mind that they don’t cool the room; they cool you. So turn them off when you leave, too.
• Switch your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents. Regular incandescent bulbs give off 10% light and 90% heat. Compact fluorescents give off 90% light and 10% heat. That’s some easy math that can add up to big savings in your pocketbook and for the planet.
• About 80% of the energy used for washing clothes isn’t used by the washing machine; it’s used by the water heater. Try washing clothes in cool or warm water. Your clothes come out just as clean, and you’ll be living more green.