As energy becomes scarcer and as costs rise across the board, it is important to consider home improvements that will not only preserve the earth’s resources but also save money. There is a wide range of energy efficient options available, from cheap and easy changes to those with a higher price tag and requiring professional installation.
As with all investments, especially in ones concerning the home, the determining factor in whether or not to commit to certain updates is a cost-benefit analysis in which one must answer: how much can you really save? Let’s tackle the three biggest home costs one by one – energy, water, and heating and cooling bills – and their corresponding energy efficient improvements to see how much money can ultimately be saved.
A simple solution to bring down the monthly electric bill is by replacing light bulbs throughout the home with LED and CFL bulbs. These typically use about 25-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can be purchased for as little as $10 for a pack of 4. Solar panels, which can cost thousands to install initially, are a pricier alternative, but can result in savings of $50 per bill. The installation process can be DIY or outsourced to a professional.
Water heating and usage together comprise a major home expense. Installing low-flow fixtures, both showerheads and faucets, can significantly reduce the amount of water that is heated and used. For a mere $10-20 it is possible to achieve savings of 25-60%. A more expensive option is to invest in dishwashers and clothes washers that are Energy Star certified. Dishwashers will use about one third less water, and clothes washers will use about 35% less water than standard models.
Heating and Cooling Bill
Energy efficient window treatments, such as cellular shades, can be easily purchased online or at the local hardware store and will keep outside temperatures from creeping indoors. They can reduce heat loss by up to 10% and reduce heat gains by about 30%. A programmable, digital thermostat, which can go for as much as $200, is a more costly solution but arguably pays for itself since it will shave a couple hundred dollars a year from the bill.
The potential exists to save hundreds of dollars per year by making energy efficient home improvements. From light bulbs to solar panels to bring down the electric bill, low-flow fixtures to major appliance upgrades to bring down the water bill, and window treatments to programmable thermostats to bring down the heat bill, the possibilities to cut costs and simultaneously make your home greener are seemingly endless. The answer to how much exactly you can save in your home ultimately comes down to how much money you are willing to invest upfront to get the job done.