Saving Money by Going Green
The average American household spends $1400 a year on electricity and that number is only going up. In the waning days of summer, how can the average consumer cut energy costs and become more eco-friendly at the same time? We at GreenerPenny have some tips to save both your hard-earned salary and your planet in peril.
As the planet heats up, so may the urge to crank the air conditioner. But the average AC produces 2,263 pounds of carbon per year and accounts for 22% of an average household’s total energy bill. You can cut out 121 pounds of carbon per year by raising the AC to the ideal temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. And Consumer Reports states that for every thermostat degree raised, you save 3% on cooling costs.
If 78 degrees still sounds too hot for your home to handle, get creative with fans, window shades, and lighting. Electric fans placed near the AC and in the shady parts of the room will blow cooler air into the hotter, sunny parts. Consider investing in an Energy Star rated ceiling fan, which uses 20% less energy than the standard model. Keeping the lights off, the curtains drawn, and the sunrays out will also cool your rooms. Low cost, eco-friendly window tinting is available at Snap Tint or Solar Gard and can save you 15% on your electricity bill.
The AC isn’t the only energy-waster in the house; many of your appliances have “stand-by power,” which means they are sucking electricity even when they aren’t being used. Computers, televisions, and other entertainment devices, the biggest stand-by culprits, produce 2,105 pounds of carbon annually, so unplugging these appliances will save $110 on your electricity bill and 283 pounds of carbon per year. Try plugging these appliances into power strips that can be turned off when they aren’t being used. A good investment is a Smart Strip Power Strip, which automatically turns off itself and your peripheral devices when your computer shuts down.
Even plumbing can be made more energy efficient. Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and produce 3,419 pounds of carbon per year. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can decrease heating costs by as much as 10% and cut out 479 pounds of carbon annually by turning your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lastly, be mindful of energy habits. Careless energy waste, such as not turning off lights when you leave a room, is a luxury that you and the planet can no longer afford. By adopting these and other easy, eco-friendly practices, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs.
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