Using green practices at home can save greenWritten by Lori Golaszewski | | email@example.com
If you’re looking to adopt green living practices in your home, there are some simple ways to save money and energy at the same time, provided by Joe Peschel, programmer of customized training at Owens Community College.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
While compact fluorescent bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs — about $3.77 on average — they offer greater savings over time, Peschel said. Compact fluorescent bulbs last about 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use 75 percent less energy, “saving the average person about $30 over the lifetime of the bulb,” he said. He suggested looking at two or three incandescent bulbs used most often in the home and replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs to maximize their energy savings.
Insulate leaky doors and windows.
With winter quickly approaching, Peschel said it’s important to check for drafts around doors and windows, which can result in heat loss and the inefficient heating of one’s home.
“A $2 or $3 tube of caulking can do a tremendous amount to cut back on the air that’s coming into the home,” he said.
Install a programmable or “setback” thermostat to cut back on heating costs.
“The price of setback thermometers has decreased in recent years and you can get a nice one for under $50,” Peschel said.
Homeowners can program the thermostat, so that it automatically turns down the heat at night when they go to bed and turns it back up in the morning when they wake up.
“On average, if you turned the heat down by 10 degrees at night for eight hours, you could save about 10 percent on your heating bill,” Peschel said.
Install a low-flow toilet that uses less water.
“The largest amount of water you use at home is normally in the toilet,” Peschel said. “A lot of older toilets, especially, use a tremendous amount of water per flush, sometimes five to seven gallons.”
While first-generation, low-flow toilets did not flush very well, Peschel said, technology has improved in recent years and newer models flush better.
“With standard toilets,” Peschel said, “you can adjust down the water in the toilet or take something as simple as a plastic bottle, fill it with water, put the cap on it and stick it inside the tank where it won’t interfere with the operation of the tank. You’ll displace that amount of water each time the toilet flushes.”
Cut back on the water being used in the shower by installing a low-flow showerhead.
“If you really want to be a water miser,” Peschel said, “there are showerheads that have a button where you can turn the water off while you’re lathering up or shaving. The thing we need to realize is that the water we don’t run down the toilet or run down the drain is water that doesn’t need to be purified or treated at the sewage plant. It saves us money, but environmentally, it’s also a better way to go.”
Replace older appliances, especially refrigerators, with Energy Star-rated appliances, which are rated highest for energy efficiency.
“If you can’t afford a new refrigerator, it’s inexpensive to get a thermometer and check the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer,” Peschel said. “Normally, you want to keep the refrigerator around 40 degrees and the freezer around zero degrees. You also want to make sure the door closes properly; sometimes you may need to replace the magnetic seal if it’s leaking cold air. A good way to check that is to put a flashlight in the refrigerator and close the door. You should not see any light coming out of the refrigerator at night.”