According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the U.S. wastes more energy than China and Europe and teeters near the bottom of the list for wastefulness. How does this impact homeowners? The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates you could spend more than $2,000 on heating your home and hundreds cooling it down every year. But there are ways to trim costs and save, even with unusual methods you may have overlooked.
Paint Your Roof
According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, white roofs could cool both your home and the world, offset CO2 and delay global warming. For home owners, this means a reduction in air conditioning bills by up to 40 percent, and decreasing your roof’s overall temperature. Painting your roof white could also prevent rooftop maintenance needs down the road, keeping even more money in your pocket.
A traditional suburban lawn takes about 10,000 gallons of water a year to maintain and requires more than 40 hours a year just to mow it, the EPA estimates. Save yourself time and money by getting an artificial lawn. Unlike stiff astro turf rolled out from decades before, a synthetic lawn is made of a modern fabric resembling a realistic lawn and can let water pass through freely. An artificial lawn takes little maintenance and ongoing costs; all with no mowing, fertilizers or pesticides.
Get Your Ducts in a Row
Fixing your leaky ducts can reduce both heating and cooling costs, and even qualify for a rebate. For example, the Home Energy Improvement Program through Duke Energy Progress program gives rebates to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Always have someone with proper HVAC training. Or, better yet, you can get trained yourself and learn to to fix your own heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units by taking an HVAC training course. There’s more than one way to put money in your pocket by getting trained. You could save money on utilities, and transform that cost-savings knowledge into a career as demand for such skills is expected to increase by 21 percent through 2022.
Block Your Chimney
Fireplaces and chimneys suck out precious energy by pulling the heat and air conditioning right out of your house. Close the damper and doors to the fireplace, but then take it a step further. Block off unused chimney with a chimney cap to seal it off from leaks. If you use your chimney on occasion or during winter months, install a chimney balloon or rigid insulation to wedge into any open areas around your damper and keep energy inside.
Modify Your Toilet Tank
How many times do you flush away gallons of water each day? Offset your water bill by modifying your toilet tanks. Take an old 1-liter bottle and partially fill it with pennies or marbles before adding water. Place it lying down in your toilet tank to offset how much water is needed to fill your tank after a flush. This technique could save roughly 10 gallons of water a day with very little effort involved.