As environmental concerns become more and more pressing, we all have a collective and an individual responsibility to lower our carbon footprint and make an effort to make our lifestyle a little greener. That includes our homes. Luckily, making your Arizona home more eco-friendly is easy, and not necessarily expensive.
It mostly comes down to the choices you make, like opting for a smaller TV, learning better habits around water and energy waste, using energy-efficient appliances, and doing everything you can to keep the heat in when the temperature drops in the winter months.
Recycling & composting
Most households recycle at this point, hopefully, but if you’re not, then you’re missing out on some really impactful environmental benefits. Reducing single-use plastics is the goal, but separating them from paper and aluminum is also a good step forward.
In addition, composting will take your recycling efforts to the next level. Any organic matter your household produces, whether it’s falling leaves or banana peels, can be safely composted. You can build a compost heap in your yard, or use a dedicated compost bin. Whatever method you choose, the point is to reduce the amount of trash your household produces and makes its way to the landfill.
Choose energy-saving appliances
Did you know that the appliances you’re using can make a difference to the amount of water and energy you’re using? Older models are not as efficient, so they use more electricity and water than needed for modern use, so it’s all wasted.
Upgrading to the latest model of washing machine or fridge means that you can update to an energy-efficient appliance that will not only help the environment but will generate a lower energy bill for you, as well. Sometimes, you can find vouchers available that you can use towards these types of appliances, in an effort to incentivize the population to make greener choices.
Install solar panels
Solar panels are, perhaps, the biggest thing you can do for your home, in order to make it more eco-friendly and reduce costs. Instead of relying on the power grid for your energy needs, you utilize solar energy that is already existent in nature for free and can successfully reduce the amount you consume and waste. In recent years, solar panels have become much more accessible for the everyday person, and homeowners have been taking advantage of that.
How much do solar panels cost?
In the past, residential solar panels were rare because they were cost-prohibitive. They are not exactly easily affordable now either, but they are more within reach and a sound investment that pays off big in the long run. The cost of solar panels depends on what type you use and how many you install, but on average, they set you back between $3,500 and $35,000. However, this is a long-term investment that’s going to have bigger returns and will last you for the next 20 years.
How much do solar panels save?
As for savings, that depends on your consumption level, as well as your location. On average, you can probably cut your energy bill in half, or even generate enough energy that you are able to sell your surplus to the grid, and make a profit. The higher the energy cost, the bigger the bill savings. In Arizona, you can expect savings to the tune of $16,469. In California, savings will be bigger, because energy is also more expensive.
Insulate your home
How often do you think about your home’s insulation? Probably not often enough, but it’s a key component in how well your home retains heat, which, in turn, significantly impacts the amount of energy you are consuming and the efficiency of your heating.
Insulation starts deep within your walls, and in recent years, even the insulating material has been made eco-friendly. You can insulate with shreds of cut-up denim, as cotton is a great insulator. You can also use cellulose, thermacork, or even sheep wool.
Draft proofing windows and doors
But the walls aren’t the only way heat is escaping - you’re also losing warm air through your windows and doors. When windows and doors are not perfectly fitted and airtight, cold air can escape through the gaps and the cracks around the frame. You want to seal the gaps, and add some thick curtains that trap the heat in and don’t let the cold air get inside your home.
Roof & floor insulation
You’ll also want to insulate the other surfaces of your home that are likely to allow heat to escape - namely, the floor and the roof or attic. You can insulate these with the same material used for the walls, or you can opt for foam.
Learn sensible habits
Over the last couple of decades, better habits have been drilled into us, regarding waste. Water waste is a big topic, and conservation is not at all difficult. It comes down to being more efficient. Don’t take longer showers than you need to, turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or taking your makeup off, and don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine unless you’ve got a full load.
Even just taking care to turn off your lights when you’re not using them helps a lot with energy conservation. It’s also an excellent money-saving habit. If you stop leaving all the lights on, you will see a big difference in your bill. Unplugging appliances and devices when they are not in use is also helpful, as they are still consuming energy even if you're not actively using them, which adds up.
Let go of your big TV
An unexpected way to save energy and help the planet is to rethink the way you are currently getting your entertainment. The big-screen TV has long been a staple of American households, but is it still necessary? And more importantly, is it eco-friendly? The answer is no. Your TV is consuming energy at high rates while in use, and still using energy when it’s turned off.
To move away from it, you can choose to switch to a smaller TV or online entertainment. Statistics show that most households are consuming internet content anyway, so using your laptop screen instead of the big TV in the living room can make a big difference to the environment, especially when you add up all the time you spend in front of the screen.
Install a smart thermostat
The other significant energy saver and bill slasher is a smart thermostat. Meant to be especially efficient in controlling the environment whether in the winter or summer, a smart thermostat can independently determine the ideal temperature and adjust in order to achieve it with minimal energy consumption and costs.
Most people get smart thermostats for the comfort and convenience of having temperature control automated and easily accessible, but the additional benefits cannot be ignored. Because of its inherent efficiency, there is much less energy waste in warming up or cooling your house.
In addition, smart thermostats can save you hundreds of dollars per year in energy bills, for the foreseeable future, so it’s also an attractive selling point, should you decide to put your home on the market.
Opt for smart lighting
Smart lighting is one of those things that appear to be superfluous, but it’s actually surprisingly convenient to have. Ever forgot the porch light on all night, but didn’t want to go back downstairs to check? Ever left on vacation and forgot the light on in the garage for a week? Smart light bulbs can be controlled remotely, which means you are able to turn them off on your phone.
Like all energy-saving tools, this cuts down on your energy consumption, saving money, and saving the environment from unnecessary energy consumption we can ill afford. The lights can even adjust the intensity depending on the time of day and your needs. They can be made brighter during cloudy days, and dimmer in the evening, for example.
In 2022, it’s incredibly important for our homes to be more eco-friendly. Not only does that ensure that you are lowering your carbon footprint and minimizing your environmental impact, but it’s also a very efficient cost-saving strategy, and it can even add to the value of your home. Eco homes are in high demand, so the investment is well worth it.
Bigger investments, like solar panels, may demand a high upfront cost, but they pay off for decades. But if that is unaffordable, there are still plenty of things you can do, like installing a smart thermostat, insulating your home, or composting. It’s all about the little changes that add up to environmental efficiency, as well as cost-efficiency.Posted by Anthony Moretti on