You drive a fuel efficient car, recycle and bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store. But how can you work on reducing your carbon footprint at home?
For more Americans, heating and cooling your home accounts for nearly 50 percent of personal carbon emissions. And according to Kiplinger, “Would-be buyers looking to limit utility bills will likely be drawn to properties with energy efficiencies, such as Energy Star-qualified windows and appliances. Buyers are most impressed with smart, energy-efficient choices that in no way limit their comfort, but in every way save them money in the long run." Having an energy efficient home could mean the difference when it’s time to sell.
Consider these opportunities to position your home well in the market and ease your utility bills while helping the earth:
Adequate insulation. Check your home's insulation to make sure you're not losing that warm air your home works so hard to provide you with.
Programmable thermostats. Set your thermostat to lower the temperature of your home when you're out, or asleep.
Smarter lights. Switch from old, incandescent light bulbs to new light emitting diodes (LED) options which last longer and use less energy.
Monitor water use. Many of us use over ten gallons of water a day. Take shorter, cooler showers, make sure your dishwasher or washing machine is full when you run it, and turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Further, COTAP.org (Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty), an organization that “ empower(s) individuals and organizations in developed countries to address both climate change and global poverty,” also suggests:
Solar. Add solar panels to the roof of your home. This costs a little more than the above options, but many providers offer financing options which minimize upfront costs. Two examples are SolarCity and SunRun. If you live in a state with a Net Metering law, you could eliminate your electricity bill or even earn money by selling electricity back to the grid.
Appliances. Make energy efficiency a primary consideration when choosing a new furnace, air conditioning unit, dishwasher, or refrigerator. Products bearing the ENERGY STAR label are recognized for having superior efficiency.