by Vanessa Algotsson
(Excerpted from the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)
Who doesn’t want to save a few bucks at the end of the month, especially these days? Luckily, whether you own or rent your home, trimming down your energy bill is easier than you might think. It can also help the environment. So with the help of a few eco-savvy experts, we’ve crafted a list of 11 simple things that absolutely anyone can do to create a more energy-efficient home.
1. Know where you stand. “The best way to begin is to just start where you are,” advised Tajuana L. Common, author of Ten-aciously Green, a guide for going green. She recommends doing an audit of your home before you begin making major changes. After finding out where you’re losing energy and money, it’s easier to solve the problem. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a free online audit at energysavers.gov/energy_audits.html.
2. Pull the plug. “Most people don’t realize that their TVs, DVD players and other electronics still suck power when they are turned off,” said Ginny Figlar Colòn, eco-blogger for Gaiam Life (blog.gaiam.com). “You can cut electricity use by almost 10 percent simply by unplugging them when you’re done using them. Power strips make this a bit easier to manage, so you can just flip the switch to cut power to several things at once.”
3. Switch it up. “Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs,” advised Andy Zeeck, a builder/contractor who recently completed the first home in Oklahoma City to be certified green by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. “That doesn’t mean you need to throw out all of the incandescent bulbs currently lighting your home; just switch to the energy savers as the old ones need to be replaced.” He added, “The prices have really come down, and they can save you up to 60 percent on your bill.” CFLs use less energy but they contain mercury and require special disposal. See our handy sidebar for more info.
Pick up the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine to find out more, like how changing the way you cook can be kinder to the environment.