Living in California we seem to hear about reducing our carbon footprints and becoming more energy efficient a lot. Being green has become a way of life and it’s not just visible in our actions but in our lifestyles too. We walk, run and bike everywhere, we consume copious amounts of organically grown products and are generally aware of our carbon footprints and most of us will definitely stop and pay attention at the mention of saving money! The federal offer of big financial incentives is one every homeowner loves to hear when contemplating renovations. Luckily for us updating our house to become more energy efficient has the added benefit of improving our comfort, reducing annual energy bills (up to 20% at times!) and we get a healthier indoor air quality. You can go large and make improvements such as window replacements, solar panels and residential wind turbines or you can do it on a budget and focus on “tightening up your house” with insulation. There are energy improvement mortgages available for those who just want to bite the bullet and do the larger renovations.
The first step is to initiate a home energy audit first. This is the process where someone will come into your home and pinpoint where the house is losing energy. They will also assess health and safety issues and report back to you on various options. These can cost anywhere from $300 or free by some local utilities.
We have found a few projects that anyone can do. Every action, and yes penny, counts!
Replacing light bulbs with florescent ones
Power strips, switch off or pull the plug on idle appliances
Water heater blankets
Foam pipe insulation
Timers for lights
Clean and replace your furnace filter on a regular basis
Install low-flow water appliances
So let's head to the nearest hardware store and make a weekend project of increasing our energy efficiency and saving some money.