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Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient and Eco-Friendly

Green homes have gained wide acceptance. But households still use nearly 22% of the energy consumed in the U.S. That's why many new and existing homeowners are taking steps to improve energy efficiency. Whether it is to save the cost of energy bills or to prevent global warming, smart homeowners are now looking for new ways to make their homes eco-friendly.

Energy data facts obtained from the Department of Energy show that an average household consumes 90 million BTU every year. The breakdown of yearly energy consumption shows that:

* 41% of this goes towards heating rooms,

* 36% goes for lighting, electronics, and appliances,

* 17% is used to heat water while

* 6% powers air conditioning.

From these facts, we can easily see what takes up the most energy at home and what we need to do to lower our energy usage. Here are some pocket-friendly tips for creating a greener home.

1. Improve Water Efficiency

Reducing the amount of water you use helps to preserve scarce potable water and reduce your monthly water bill. You can start by installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce the volume of water used while you shower.

Replace your old dishwasher with an Energy-Star certified model. This type of dishwasher usually has a high-quality solenoid valve that controls the entry of water into the dishwasher.

You can also minimize your water consumption by:

* Running full loads of laundry and dishes in your machine

* Shutting off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving

* Taking short showers

If you have the funds, you may also replace your old water closet with a modern water-saving model. You can save up to 4 gallons of water each time you flush the toilet.

2. Reduce Heating Costs

Over 40 percent of the energy consumed in an average home in the West goes for heating rooms. That's why reducing heating costs will have a significant impact on the environment.

Reducing heating costs does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can start with simple, low-cost ideas. For instance, a survey showed that installing an efficient electric storage water heater that's Energy-star compliant can save a family up to $3,000.

Another way to reduce heating costs is to install a smart thermostat. The main benefit of this device is its ability to study and adapt to your lifestyle. It will automatically adjust heating and cooling to suit your needs. You can also program it to use less energy when you are not at home.

3. Increase Home Insulation

Insulating your home will prevent the transfer of heat within and outside your home. It will reduce carbon emissions and make your house more comfortable.

To know all the areas of your home that need additional insulation, you need to do a detailed energy audit. But before you call an energy consultant, you can:

* Block all air spaces around windows and doors

* Insulate your water heater

* Add extra insulation to your basement and attic

* Seal all cracks with caulk.

Insulating your home will also help to lower your heating and cooling costs.

4. Use a Smart Power Strip

This device reduces energy consumption and protects your devices. A smart power strip will know when a connected appliance is idle or in standby mode and cut off the power supply.

If you have a desktop computer, for instance, you can save up to 80 watts by cutting off the power in standby mode. If you have a lot of old electronic appliances that are not Energy Star certified, this energy-saving device is a must-have.

5. Change Light Bulbs

You most likely know the benefit of replacing all incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. They can save up to 75% of the power used by the old filament-based bulbs. But they now come in different forms. So opt for Energy Star-qualified LEDs. These LEDs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

In addition to replacing old bulbs, you should also increase the amount of natural light that you use. Place your tables close to windows so you can see clearly during the day without using artificial lighting.

Creating an energy-efficient and eco-friendly home is a rewarding project. With each change you make to your home, whether it is reducing water usage, cutting heating costs, or lowering your power consumption, you will be helping to make the world a better place to live.