With Austin’s ever-growing trend of “going green,” it is important for home owners and sellers to consider the benefits of making your home more energy efficient. There are many upgrades you can make throughout your home – both indoor and outdoor – to save energy and money. Not only can home sellers set their home apart from the competition, but home owners can improve their health and home enjoyment while lowering their heating and cooling bills, all while helping the environment.
The number of ways you can make your home more energy efficient can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together some of the best – and easiest – places to get started:
Use your washer and dryer wisely – A lot of energy can be saved through the washer and dryer. On your next load of clothes, use the cold wash cycle. Clothes come out just as clean – and you’ll save a lot of money throughout the year. Also, don’t overfill the dryer or you’ll need to run it through several cycles just to get dry. Austin’s year-round mild climate makes it ideal for hanging clothes on an outdoor clothesline throughout most of the year – thus avoiding the use of the dryer on every load.
Use natural lighting – Instead of flipping the light switch when you walk into a room, open the blinds and use natural light. Blinds can also help keep heat inside during the cooler months, saving you money on your electricity bill. Also, make sure to turn off the lights as soon as you leave the room.
Install a low-flow showerhead – Replace your showerhead with a low-flow model. The newest models offer great water pressure and the option to easily switch the water supply on and off as needed. These showerheads range in price from $20 to $200, but will save as much as $75 on your yearly water bill. Real Goods has several great low-flow showerhead options.
Upgrade your light bulbs – Replace your old light bulbs with low-energy bulbs. Although it’s a higher upfront cost, they’ll last much longer and will glow brighter. You can also do the same with holiday lights – just switch them out for LEDs. Ecowise, located near South Congress Avenue, sells low-energy bulbs, among many other energy-efficient products ranging from household cleaners to clothing.
Unplug your appliances – This may seem like a simple rule of thumb, but it’s something that’s commonly overlooked. Appliances and cell phone chargers use energy even if they’re not being used. Next time you’re done with the toaster or your cell phone charger, make sure you unplug it from the wall.
Turn off your computer – Put your computer in sleep mode or turn it off completely when you’re done using it each day. It will help save energy and will also help increase the life of your computer. You can also set your computer screen to go dark when you’re not using it, which is another great way to save energy.
Watch the thermostat – Setting your thermostat a few degrees warmer or cooler can save a significant amount of energy over the year. Studies show that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you’ll save 1 to 3% of your heating bill. Even better, in Austin’s beautiful fall months, try switching off the thermostat and opening the windows instead.
If you’d like an expert opinion on increasing your home’s efficiency, Green Collar Operations, based out of Austin, offers a free energy audit to help you reduce your monthly utility bills and energy usage. They’re also a great resource for staying up-to-date on the available government rebates. To take one more step toward making your Austin home more efficient, schedule a 30-minute consultation by calling them at (512) 986-7045.
A free energy audit, along with these quick and easy tips will help you make your home a little bit “greener” in no time. Implementing even just one of them will save you energy and money in the long run.