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Guest Blogger: How to Green your Home the Affordable Way

Guest Blogger #980, Entry #2506, June 10, 2013

Home energy efficient investments are a wise way to reduce your energy bills and cut back your environmental impact. Although it is always worth considering clean, self-dependent energy generation, such as installing solar panels, there are many more affordable ways to make your home more green. You don’t have to spend a lot to start saving money. For example, you could start seeing your utility bills fall if you simply…

landscaping shade trees

Plant shade trees around your home

Image via: Paul Crosby

Plant shade trees around your home

This mainly applies to older homes that have relatively poor quality windows and insulation. By planning some good landscaping, you could save energy, as shade trees can really help to keep your home cool in the summer months and warmer through the winter.

Shade trees and shrubs, particularly deciduous trees will not only brighten up the exterior of your house, but the foliage will also block infrared radiation from strong sunbeams in the summer that would lead your house to heat up. The bare branches in the winter let this radiation come through to help warm your home in the colder months.

Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are a great way to ensure that you are not wasting energy needlessly on excess or unwanted heat. These thermostats are affordable and can be purchased from around £50 – £100. Not only do they allow you to control the temperature in your home much easier but also they can help you save even when you are away.

nest thermostat

Install a programmable thermostat

You should always turn the heating or cooling off in your home whenever you leave, just as you would turn off the lights when you are not using them. If you have a cooler system installed in your house, then turn the temperature on the thermostat higher when you are leaving your home in warmer months, otherwise just turn the heating down throughout the year whenever you’re gone. This little extra control over your heating can help you save considerably on your bill.

Change your incandescent bulbs 

Traditional incandescent bulbs are notorious for wasting energy, with only 2.1% of a 100-watt bulb producing light, and the other 98 watts being wasted on heat. Not only does changing these bulbs with energy efficient alternatives mean you have to spend less money replacing them, but it is also good for the environment.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs such as domestic LED lighting from the LED Lighting Depot and other online retailers, are a much more affordable solution. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last up to 50 times longer than traditional bulbs, and CFLs use only 27 watts to generate as much light as a 100 watt incandescent.

The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that if more households use LED lighting alternatives in the next two decades, then it will prevent the need for 40 new power plants. This small change will also reduce electricity demand by 33%, resulting in around £172 billion being saved in lighting costs.

Choose greener appliances

Using appliances comprises around 18% of a typical households total energy bill. Older fridges are one of the worst appliances in terms of energy consumption. In the last five years, refrigerator efficiency has greatly improved so new models, especially those with Energy Star ratings, can cost only around $30 – $60 per year to run, compared to $50 – $150 to keep an older fridge running. Replacing this may be initially costly, but the amount of money you will save over the appliances lifetime will end up paying for itself and more.

energy efficiency kitchen appliances

Switch to more energy-efficient kitchen appliances

Image via: Level One Renovations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you replace any appliance that is more than 10 years old with an Energy star rated, energy-efficient models. These will use between 10% – 50% less water and energy than standard products. These appliances also make a huge difference to the environment, as the EPA predicts that if just one in 10 households used these energy efficient appliances it would be the equivalent of planting a huge 1.7 million acres of trees.

For more energy efficient ideas on Stagetecture, click here.

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