If you’re environmentally conscious, the best place to start making eco-friendly changes is in your own home. There are several upgrades that can help to make your home more energy efficient, and help you to conserve electricity and water while reducing your carbon footprint. The changes you can make also pay for themselves through savings over time, so they’re not just good for the environment, but for your wallet as well. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s four ways you can upgrade your home that will benefit our shared environment.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Most of the electricity used in an average modern home is used for heating and air conditioning. If you already have an energy efficient HVAC system, the best way to drive down your electrical usage is to install a smart thermostat. By employing advanced temperature sensors, a smart thermostat will learn about your home and make the most efficient use of your existing HVAC system.
For example, the Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat will monitor your home to learn about your habits (like what time you get up and when you leave for work or come home) and adjust its temperature settings automatically. It can be controlled from anywhere via the internet as well, so if you’ll be away longer than usual, you can adjust the settings yourself as well.
Use Low-Flow Shower Heads
There’s no bigger source of water usage in your home than your shower. A standard showerhead can use up to eight gallons of water per minute of use. By installing a more efficient low-flow showerhead, you can cut that usage down by up to 75% without compromising your shower’s performance. Since most people take hot showers, this will also reduce your hot water usage, which is another source of high home energy consumption.
There are plenty of options to choose from which are available in a number of form factors. You may opt for a handheld unit, a traditional fixed one or even a combination of both. Whichever you pick, you’ll be saving a great deal of water and energy.
Install a Tankless Water Heater
As mentioned previously, providing your home with hot water can be costly in terms of energy usage. Traditional hot water heating systems rely on a large storage tank to provide a sufficient amount of hot water to a home. The problem is that water that is heated long before it’s needed tends to lead to waste. A standard hot water heater will have to keep cycling on and off to maintain the proper temperature of the stored water, even if you never use any of it.
A great way to prevent such waste is to install a tankless water heater. This type of system produces hot water on demand, so it’s only active when you need it to be. Producing hot water this way can cut your energy usage in half compared to a traditional system. They are available in various capacities depending on your usage needs and will give you years of reliable service.
Add Attic Insulation
Upgrading your home’s attic insulation is one of the most inexpensive and easy ways to reduce your energy consumption. Installing insulation that is the correct R-value for your area will keep your home comfortable and cut your energy usage up to 10%. The best part is that it can cost less than one dollar per square foot to install, so it won’t break the bank and the upside is tremendous. It’s also a pretty easy do-it-yourself job, so if you’re able to tackle it yourself, you can save even more.
Photo: Getty Images
This post was part of a paid partnership.