Article | Homeownership
5 Potential Ways to Save Energy and Stay Comfortable at Home
Energy-efficient home improvements don't have to be difficult. Here are five ideas to make your home more sustainable and help save money.
Taking steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle at home can not only help protect the environment, but also can improve the comfort of your home and help save money, too. It’s estimated that 41% of Americans want to buy green products for their home. Strategic home feature upgrades and smart habits can help save on utility bills, help reduce your water and carbon footprints, and potentially benefit your budget long term.
Five Ideas That Could Help Make Your Home More Sustainable and Help Save Money:
1. Choose a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat works by automatically raising or lowering the temperature in your house based on your selected settings to keep it comfortable when you're home and to help save energy when you're not. Smart thermostats are enhanced versions of programmable thermostats that can typically learn your habits and be controlled remotely from an app. With either option, you could potentially save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day from its normal setting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
2. Wash Clothes on Cold
The laundry room is a great place to help save energy. According to a recent study, “about 90% of the energy the washing machine uses goes towards heating the water.” Turning that knob to the cold setting can help you save with your next load, and cold water can also extend the life of your clothes. Cold water is best for delicate fabrics, and it can reduce color fading, shrinking and wrinkles. Also, using hot water with certain stains can make them permanent, ruining the look of your favorite pieces, so consider washing in cold for those hard-to-get-out stains.
3. Use Natural Light and Update Bulbs
The natural light that comes into a home does not cost any money, so it is a perfect source to naturally light up a room (and add extra heat in the winter too!). Not only does this save on energy costs, but the sunshine may also boost your mood. On darker days and in the evening, turn on ENERGY STAR®* certified light bulbs that can save up to 90% in energy consumption when compared to standard bulbs. Using less energy is better for the environment and for the wallet, so use electric lights only when needed and consider turning them off every time you leave a room.
*ENERGY STAR and the ENERGY STAR mark are registered trademarks owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
4. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows, Appliances or HVAC System
Making energy efficient home upgrades often requires an investment, but these upgrades can potentially increase your home’s value. For example, installing new energy-efficient windows, appliances, or heating and cooling systems that use less energy could increase the value of your home. According to an infographic by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Americans who use appliances that meet certain standards can save $500 on their utility bills. To help fund certain qualifying home improvements in select areas, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance offers its Home Upgrade loan program.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Natural and eco-friendly cleaning supplies do not use harmful chemicals, which is better for your local water supply and is a great option when cleaning surfaces your family uses often. There are many cleaning supply alternatives that are available at local retail stores that contain less potentially harmful chemicals, or you might consider making your own cleaners at home by searching safe and proven methods. Pantry staples like baking soda, distilled white vinegar and lemon juice are common ingredients for creating DIY cleaners that are better for the environment and often cost just pennies to make.
If you are interested in finding more ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you can also conduct a home energy audit. Whether it's taking small steps like trading out your incandescent bulbs for LED light bulbs or a bigger step like financing energy-efficient home improvements with Vanderbilt’s Home Upgrade loan program, you should feel proud that you're making a positive impact on the environment and its future. The energy savings and potential lower utility costs are a welcome benefit of your sustainability efforts at home.
*All loans subject to credit approval.
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