LED and CFL bulbs are compatible with pretty much any light fixture you can imagine. They have a pretty drastic effect on your energy bill, and most of the energy efficient bulbs actually produce more light than their traditional counterparts. Plus, because they don’t get nearly as hot as traditional bulbs, they’re no longer burn hazards for curious little fingers.
But, if you really want to cut down on energy, install some light sensors. That simple adjustment eliminates the possibility of leaving the lights on when you go out, or from following the kids around, turning the lights off after them! If you want to save your eyes from the brightness overload you get when you go to the kitchen after dark, consider having under-cabinet lights installed. It’s an easy DIY project, and it provides a chic detail to your place.
Make Use of Your Land
If you have a swath of land that you aren’t doing anything with, switch it up! There are tons of options based on what you want to do and how much time you want to invest in it, but almost all of them are greener than continually mowing and watering the lawn. If you plant shrubs close to the house, they add an extra layer of insulation on the first floor, which not only makes your home more attractive but also helps to cut down on heating.
You can also grow trees close (but not too close) to your home to help protect your home from direct sunlight in the summer and heavy snows in the winter. Your lawn can become a garden if you feel like learning how to grow your own food, or you can simply make an effort to plant native species in your area to provide a natural safe haven for wildlife.
Insulate (and Decorate)
There are plenty of areas that can use a little extra insulation, like the copper pipes in your basement, but one of the most overlooked areas in any home is the garage door. In addition to reducing your energy bill over time, insulated garage doors will also dampen noise from the street since the added insulation will absorb some of the vibrations from the door. As an added bonus, insulated garage doors come in a variety of design options, so you’re no longer stuck with the basic, paneled garage door.
This should be an obvious choice by now, but I’m not necessarily referring to installing solar panels on your roof (which is an awesome option if you’re going that way). I’m actually referring to the more portable solar options – solar sunglasses, solar backpacks, solar window stickers that charge anything with a USB port! Seriously, the expansion of solar options is pretty incredible, and most of them are so affordable, it’s just silly not to take advantage! They also tend to be a great conversation piece. Personally, I’m waiting until these solar window options come on the market to switch over to full solar!
Ok, so upcycling isn’t really reducing your home’s energy use, but it does have a significant impact on your personal energy footprint. After all, the greenest piece of furniture is one that already exists, right? So instead of buying new, buy used! Second-hand or antique is a really cool way to save money, it allows you to choose an unusual piece, and then you can take it on as a mini-project to make it fit your home. This can be especially helpful because all that work you put in means you know that piece inside and out. If something is broken or dangerous, you have the opportunity to fix it before it becomes a problem.
This is just a taste of the options that are available to you for updating your home. You can choose from upcycled light fixtures, get new, Energy Star approved appliances, regulate water usage, install cork or wood flooring and use natural cleaning products, just to name a few. So get out there, take a look at your home, and see what needs renovating!