Regular readers of our blog may remember that I work as the energy manager for our municipality. Recently I was at a reception in honor of our municipality receiving an award for our Go Green program. and I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with the wife of our Mayor. She asked me:
What is it that you do in your home to save energy and money that I’m probably not doing?
That got me to thinking. What AM I doing that others could do easily? What is the best response to a question like this? Here are some good answers:
- Lighting – We replaced all of our incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and now we are slowly swapping them out for LEDs.
- Programmable thermostat – We installed and programmed two thermostats years ago. As our family has changed we have re-assessed where we set the thermostats. Now we tend to have it set back during the days, when family members are cold, first they put on sweaters and sweatshirts, and then, only if needed, we turn the heat up.
- Energy Vampires – We looked critically at what was plugged in, why and when to cut down on the energy vampires in our home.
- Home energy assessment and air sealing – In Massachusetts we have a great program mandated by the state where utility companies collect an energy efficiency charge and then provide free home energy assessment and air sealing services to residents. This program is called MassSave and I highly recommend it. Regardless of where you live, having a professional or someone experienced with building science look at your home is a good idea.
- Insulation – We had our home insulated. The cost before any rebates and incentives was about $4,000 and after rebates and tax incentives, it cost us $500. We cut our home heating bill almost in half.
- Driving – We pay attention to how we drive in order to save fuel.
We also do things to save money and lessen our impact on the environment through products and chemicals we bring into the house
- Fabric Softener – I use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener
- Gardening – I have a garden and I include my children in everything from planning to maintenance to harvesting
- Composting – We compost vegetable food scraps, dryer lint, coffee grinds and plants to make our own soil enhancement and cut down on our waste going to landfills.
- Cloth Diapers – Cloth diapers save you thousands of dollars over the life of a child – especially one that doesn’t potty train early! They also save 237 gallons of crude oil used to make disposable diapers.
- Line Dry Laundry – Hanging our laundry takes time and effort, but when we do it we notice the impact on our gas bill.
- Pests – We use natural methods to get rid of pests like ants, fruit flies and slugs. This cuts down on expensive, poisonous insecticides.