Technology has come a long way - and when it comes to our built environment, green technology is leading the way towards a more efficient tomorrow. You might think that going green costs too much money, but you haven't considered all the cash it will save on your heating bills, water bills, and electricity bills. Take a look at some of the best ways to make your home much more energy-efficient.
Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Energy saving light bulbs are small, so it might seem like they can’t possibly save you that much money. The reverse is true, however. There are a variety of energy-efficient bulbs on the market, some of which use less than 75 percent of the energy used by traditional light bulbs. They last longer as well, which is even better. You’ll save money on your power bill and your store bill, because you won’t have to constantly replace your bulbs.
Fluorescent bulbs are helpful options too, but only if you’re willing to install new fixtures as well. Even with standard energy-saving lights, they’re actually brighter than regular bulbs. You’ll spend less but get even more illumination.
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If you want to save money on electricity, think about solar panel installation. Situated on the roof of your home, they create electricity and heat your water, if you like. The sun essentially provides all of your electricity needs, so in effect, you’re a power company unto yourself. Solar panels are no longer unsightly either, and in addition to saving money, they add value to your home and even result in tax breaks or refunds. The freedom to basically go off the grid quickly pays for the cost of installation, but if you’re handy, you can actually do it yourself.
A Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are huge energy savers. You’ll no longer have to manually program the thermostat, nor will you have to come home to a freezing cold or too-hot house. Programmable thermostats make it easy to program the temperature to more energy-efficient settings. Program the heat to come on an hour before you get home or before you get up in the morning. You can even program them by the days of the week for added convenience. Now it won’t take as long for your home to get warm and you won’t waste energy by keeping the heat on constantly.
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A Solar Hot Water Heater
A solar hot water tank is an excellent investment in terms of saving money and the environment. When you think about the amount of gas or electricity it takes to heat your water when you use it, you’ll understand why. Solar powered water tanks use the power of the sun to heat the water, but the difference is that it remains heated within its tank, which is fully insulated. There’s also the option of using your solar panels to heat the water in your tank, which is even more efficient.
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Dual Flushing Toilets
Every flush of the toilet wastes a lot of water, which in turn costs you money. By installing dual flush toilets instead, you’ll save nearly 30 percent of your overall water usage. They’re quite ingenious, as they have two buttons, one for liquid bodily fluids and one for bodily fluids that aren’t quite as liquid, if you catch that drift.
Flushing when there’s just water (or whatever) in your toilet is enormously wasteful, but most people aren’t comfortable with the mellow yellow philosophy. With dual flushing toilets, that’s unnecessary. The toilets themselves aren’t that expensive and ultimately pay for themselves anyway. Although you can technically install them yourselves if you’re handy, it’s worthwhile to bring in a plumber.
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Energy efficient appliances save money by producing less waste, using less energy, and saving on electricity, but they’re good for tax incentives too. Many big name appliance manufacturers now offer energy-efficient appliances, so you can basically pick your poison. Energy Star appliances are the most popular choices, but there are lots of others. However, they use 20 percent less energy than others on the market, and that’s the minimum.
What appliances can you buy to save money? Start in the kitchen. There are energy-saving refrigerators, dishwashers, and even ovens. Elsewhere, definitely think about buying efficient washers and dryers, especially the former. Washers use a lot of water, and an energy-efficient model saves on water and electricity.
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Smarter Power Strips
Power strips are very convenient but they’re also inefficient in terms of the energy they use. They’re potentially dangerous to at least, the regular ones are. There are now smart power strips that don’t keep using electricity and energy when the devices plugged into them or the strips themselves are off. Instead of unplugging all of your appliances and devices, invest in smart power strips. You’ll have plenty of outlets to use but your home won’t hemorrhage energy and electricity at all times. Instead, you’ll have a main strip, through which you route other items.
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Better Battery Chargers
Not only are energy-efficient battery chargers better, they’re also smarter. Think about all the money you waste on batteries, from AAAs to D-cells. Think, too, about how often you really properly dispose of them and how bad they are for the environment, as they languish away in landfills. With a smart battery charger, you can actually recharge your regular, every day batteries. Many such chargers will recharge these batteries as many as 10 times. That saves you money, given the cost of even the smallest pack of batteries, and it’s unquestionably better for the environment.
Additionally, you have the option of transitioning over to rechargeable batteries. They’re initially more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but if you keep them charged, they make up for the start-up costs. You’ll likely never have to buy batteries again.
If you’re interested in saving money in the long-term, then you need to seriously consider going a little greener, even if it costs you something in the short-term. What are some other ways you can think of that will make your home more energy-efficient? Tell us in the comments.
About the Author:
DJ Miller is a graduate student at the University of Tampa. He is an avid writer who is passionate about technology and the environment. In his spare time he likes to travel, play soccer, and watch movies. You can follow him on twitter @MillerHeWrote