Climate change has made us conscious about the way we use, and sometimes abuse, energy. Everyone has a “carbon footprint,” so we can all find ways to reduce our impact on the planet. For starters, you can perform some basic home renovation to reduce your house’s energy consumption. Let’s take a look at 6 easy changes you can make:
1. Weather-strip Your Doors and Windows
Due to heating and air conditioning systems, homes pollute the air more than cars do. Weather-stripping your doors and windows contains your household temperature, which means you don’t have to blast the heat or A/C so much. Materials are cheap and can be found at any hardware store, and this minor alteration will save you big money on energy bills.
2. Get Screen Doors and Windows
Screens provide an alternative to A/C when you need to cool your house off. They give you the option to open up windows and let natural air circulate through the house. This can save you about 15% of your energy costs per year, while also cutting down on pollution. This is a fairly easy home renovation, with plenty of installation kits available at hardware stores.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
A smart thermostat allows you to set temperatures for different times of day. Instead of leaving the heat on while you’re at work, program the unit to turn on shortly before you get home to warm the place up. With more control at your fingertips, you can optimize your indoor climate for comfort, while also saving money every month.
4. Invest in Insulation
This one’s a no-brainer: like weather-stripping, good insulation maintains inside temperatures so you can keep your hand off the thermostat. It’s a more involved home renovation, but you should line your exterior walls, attic floors, and basement ceiling with insulation. To go the extra mile, find insulation made from recycled cotton or denim scrap – this saves you from worry over the noxious formaldehyde present in fiberglass insulation.
5. Lower the Temp of Your Water Heater
Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default. Lowering it to 120 saves lots of energy over time, without detracting from the heat of your water.
6. Get Your Furnace Serviced
If you have an old furnace on its way out, replace it with an energy-efficient model. If you heat with oil, have a professional service your furnace once a year. Otherwise, maintenance is the name of the game: clean or replace filters, and dust radiator surfaces as often as possible.
Reducing your carbon footprint can be a big home renovation project, but if you can make the changes above over the course of a few years, the earth – and your wallet – will thank you.