Few people realize that the energy used in a home causes more greenhouse emissions than a car. Most of the electricity used in a home is produced by burning coal, oil or natural gas, which releases carbon dioxide —the world’s largest contributor to global climate change — into the atmosphere. As a result, the energy choices people make at home have a great effect on the environment.
The typical household spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. By following simple energy saving tips and purchasing products that are Energy Star-qualified, a typical household can save up to 30 percent, or more than $500 per year, on utility expenses and accompanying pollution.
Following are seven simple tips that will lower your energy bill while helping the environment:
- Dirty air filters in a home’s heating and cooling system can lead to higher costs and early equipment failure. Clean or change these filters regularly.
- Energy Star-qualified windows and doors can reduce home energy bills up to 15 percent. Many manufacturers offer a variety of attractive Energy Star-qualified products for significant energy cost savings.
- Air leaks can overwork a home’s heating and cooling system. Seal air leaks in walls, ceilings, and around windows and doors, and add insulation to the attic and basement to improve the comfort and durability of your home.
- Replace the most frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Look for the Energy Star logo. These use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than normal bulbs. Changing just five can save more than $60 a year in energy costs.
- Turn off all lights and electronics when you leave a room. They may not use a lot of electricity on their own, but they add up.
- When buying heating and cooling devices, shop during the off-season to take advantage of many manufacturers’ seasonal sales promotions and rebates.
- Planting trees that provide shade for the home can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent. For best results, plant leafy shade trees to the south and west and evergreens to the north. Trees also help to reduce the greenhouse effect, while beautifying the outside of the home.
The less energy people use, the less energy power plants need to generate, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves the quality in our world. Energy efficiency helps the economy, too, by saving homeowners up to 30 percent in energy costs each year.