Green Living Tips: Heating and Cooling Your Home

Keeping a house cool in the summer and warm in the winter on the cheap is not the easiest place to cut back when budgeting. But, on top of preventing your wallet from shrinking, there is even more reason to preserve energy on heating and cooling your house: the environment. The amount of energy your house uses affects the environment just as much as your wallet and is well worth investing time and effort into to prevent higher usage than necessary.

Below are a few tips to save on energy whether it’s winter or summer:

Make the most of your windows – Opening windows means more sunlight to keep your house warmer in the winter and more breezes to keep your home cool in the summer. Investing in thermal curtains will help you maintain temperatures within the house. Keep curtains open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to keep out the chill during the colder to months. In the warmer months keep them closed during the day to keep out the heat and open at night to let in the cooler breeze.

Know where your weak spots are – Having a home energy audit performed will show you exactly where energy is being lost in your home. This will allow you to make smart upgrades in your home where it really counts.

Stop leaks in their tracks – Storm windows are great for the winter and, believe it or not, summer months too. The space between the windows keeps warmth in during the colder months and heat out in the warmer months. Draught-stoppers, cheap and easy to DIY, is also a great way to preserve the desired temperature in your home. Another easy to install option to save on energy is weather stripping your doors and windows.

Check your ratings – R-value is a rating scale of an insulation’s ability to prevent heat flow. The higher the R-value the more efficient the insulation. Living in New England you will want to look for a higher R-value in the type of insulation you invest in. Since heat rises you will want to use insulation with a higher R-value on the top floors of your house than those on your lowers floors.

Be a control freak – Installing an easy to use programmable thermostat is a great way to manage the temperature in your home. Set up timers that keep your home warmer while you are awake and at home in the winter months and set to a lower temperature while you are out for the day or asleep for the night. In the summer set up your timer to keep your home cooler while you are home and to use less energy while you are out of the house for the day.

While it takes an investment of time and money upfront ensuring that your home efficiently uses energy when cooling and heating your house will benefit you for years to come. One of the great perks to being frugal about your home’s energy usage is that it will also shrink your impact on the environment. With perks like that, you can’t lose!

Ecofriendly tips for the home

As a society we are realizing how increasingly important it is to practice becoming more eco-conscious in our day to day lives. You probably already practice some eco-friendly habits whether it’s reusable bags at the grocery store, signing up for a recycling bin or carrying a water bottle around with your throughout the day. There are lots of small steps we can take. Below are some you may not have thought of, or have been meaning to start carrying out and just need that extra push!

When Cleaning: Choose non-toxic cleaning products and microfiber clothes over traditional cleaners. Microfiber clothes are a fantastic multitasker to keep in your cleaning arsenal. Used damp they are great for cleaning and scrubbing while when dry they can be used for dusting. Since microfiber clothes seemingly have cleaning super powers you will find yourself needing less cleaning product. When you do need a product to get the job done opt for a more natural or even homemade one. Vinegar and baking soda are two kitchen ingredients that are also efficient cleaners as well!

Smart purchases: Buy items made of recycled materials and reusable options over one-use products. Look for natural cleaners and products for not only around the home but for personal use too. What you put on your body matters, after all, your skin is your largest organ! When buying detergent look for a concentrated variety instead of the traditional watered-down options. And avoid dry cleaning!

It’s electric: Look for solar powered outdoor lights to save on your electric bill and, if possible, install solar panels as an energy source for your home. There are many companies today whose goal is to make solar panels more affordable for the average household. When upgrading old appliances purchase low energy varieties that are Energy Star qualified. Bonus points: you can usually get tax credits for doing so! Need a free way to save electricity? Turn off the lights when you leave a room and unplug any electronics not in use. Electronics can use power when plugged in even if they are not turned on! Try using power strips with an on-off switch to easily control electricity flow. CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED bulbs use less energy to heat than traditional ones and while pricier they pay for themselves over time.

Water wisely: Bathrooms are, naturally, the place where the most water is used. There a few upgrades you can make, for example, look for low-flow toilets and showerheads with the WaterSense label. Installing a recirculating water pump saves on water by allowing water to be hot when you turn on the faucet so you don’t have to let the water run while waiting for the temperature to change. Some free ways to save on water? Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and flush the toilet less often throughout the day.

Heating & cooling: Thermal drapes are great in the winter to keep out the cold and in the summer to keep out the heat of the sun. Keep drapes open during the day and closed at night during winter and closed during the day and open at night during the summer. Opt for ceiling fans over air conditioning to save on energy in the summer months. In the winter, opt for more layers instead of increasing the room temperature. Draft stoppers and carpeting on hardwood floors are another way to keep your home warmer when it’s cold out.

There are so many ways to make your home a more eco-friendly one. Whether you have money to invest in smart upgrades or opt for the more frugal habits each eco-conscious step you take will have a positive impact in the long run on not only the environment but your wallet as well.