Saving Money by Going Green
In this era of fiscal responsibility, every penny counts. Millions of Americans are going the extra mile to make sure that they are maximizing what for many is a reduced income level. While clipping coupons and avoiding ATM fees can certainly help ease some of the burden, there is a lot of money to be saved by going green. While some of the tactics listed below might involve some initial spending, in the long run the savings can really add up. These savings offer the additional benefit of offering savings not on a one time basis, but as a decrease in annual expenditure (and by the way, it also helps save the environment).
Save on Water
There are lots of great ways for the average homeowner to decrease their water consumption through some simple modifications. Most of these suggestions are fairly inexpensive, and can yield immediate results on your water bill.
- Install low flow showerheads and faucets. There are numerous showerheads and faucets on the market designed to decrease the amount of water consumption while not sacrificing water pressure. Stop by your local home improvement store and ask about low flow faucets. Instillation is quick and easy, and by next month you should be seeing dollars back in your pocket.
- Check your pipes for leaks. One of the biggest wastes of water can be unseen leaks, which can cost you hundreds of dollars annually. Be sure to check your pipes regularly for any potential leaks, and use your water meter as a gauge by which you can measure potential wasted water. This is perhaps the quickest, easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to save money on your water bull.
- Install water efficient washing machines, dishwashers, and toilets. This option might be relatively more expensive, but can yield some impressive results down the road. Installing appliances that conserve water can save you hundreds over the course of their lifetime, and can more than pay for themselves. Do some research, shop around, and see what brands and models best fit your budget and lifestyle.
- Install greywater or rainwater irrigation systems. If you regularly water your lawn, installing a greywater or rainwater irrigation system might be worth the initial cost. Greywater is water that has been used in the home, but is still safe to be used with plants (faucet runoff, rinse cycles in your washing machine or dishwasher, shower runoff), while rainwater is simply collected rainwater from sidewalks, gutters, etc. These systems will generally cost more than the other ideas on this list, however the results can be dramatic, especially if you water your lawn with any frequency. There are companies that specialize in green building in Manitowoc that are more than familiar with these systems, and would be happy to assist you in the design and instillation.
Save on Electricity
Electricity can be another significant drain on a homeowner’s pocketbook. Many of these suggestions are again, very affordable, and can more than pay for themselves in as little as a few months.
- Install energy efficient light bulbs. This one is going to be the cheapest on this list, for if this is out of your price range, you might not need to read any further. That said, this tip is going to be very affordable, and depending on your usage, can pay for itself in a very short period of time (especially in those dark Wisconsin winters). Energy efficient bulbs require less electricity, and last significantly longer than conventional bulbs, so you will save not only on your energy bill, but on future expenditures on light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs are available just about everywhere light bulbs are sold, and are usually no more expensive than other alternatives, most costing less than a dollar more per bulb. With a life expectancy several times greater, the savings is immediate.
- Ask for an energy audit. Energy audits are inspections of your home to see where you are losing the most energy ($$$), to help you diagnose the cause of the problems, and offer solutions that can help save you money in the long run. These audits do cost money, and offer no direct returns, however they can help point you in the right direction when it comes to upgrading or modifying you home. If you plan on making any significant changes to your home, and energy audit should be your first step, and can help you save not only on energy, but on the costs of the upgrades.
- Install a high efficiency water heater. Water heating can be one of the largest single uses of energy in a home, especially in winter. Installing an energy efficient water heater can be a little pricy, but it can return significant results immediately on energy (as well as water consumption!). Many rebates are available online to help lessen the initial cost, so be sure to check the internet for potential savings in your area.
- Install energy efficient windows. The majority of heat lost through a home is lost through its windows. When people speak about rooms being “drafty”, it is almost certainly the result of poorly maintained and insulated windows. There are many types, models, and styles of windows available that can help you cut down on your energy bill by significantly decreasing the amount of heat lost. Be sure to shop around, as windows can be expensive, but these products are usually able to pay for themselves in just a few years (and you have new windows, decreasing future maintenance costs).
- Install energy efficient insulation. This one can be on the higher end, pricewise, but can return a significant amount of that money in a few years’ time. Adding additional, efficient insulation to a home can drastically decrease heating and cooling costs. Insulation of pipes can decrease the amount of energy that is put in to heating water, and you won’t have to run the faucet for an extended period of time to wait for the water to warm up, saving on water as well. This has the added benefit of making your home more soundproof, and outside noises more quiet.
While this list is fairly extensive, it is by no means all-inclusive. Be sure to check online for other tips to save energy, especially as technology continues to improve. Be on the lookout for more energy-saving tips in the future!