There are so many things you can do to make your home and life more eco-friendly that are FREE (for example recycling all you can, composting, taking shorter showers, walking to the store, using reusable grocery bags, dining by candlelight, saying no to bottled water and the list goes on and on and on…). There are also tons of things you can do that cost very little and SAVE YOU MONEY. Check out this list– spend only $100 and you will save over $500!
1) Get a low-flow showerhead for your home. A low-flow showerhead can save you up to 3,000 gallons of water per person per year! They cost about $30 and will save you ~$45/year in water and energy to heat your water. While you’re at it, get a $3 sink aerator attachment, and save $25 more each year.
2) Get a programmable thermostat. Most homes waste a great deal of energy and money by heating and cooling when people are not at home. With a programmable thermostat you can control your cooling and heating by day and time to maximize efficiency and money savings. These devices cost $50 and take 15 minutes to install. And it will save you close to $100 per year.
3) Turn down and insulate your water heater. First, turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees. Most people run their water heater too hot. That act alone is free and will save you ~$100/year. Then get an insulation sweater to put around your water heater– it will reduce the amount of energy the heater needs to keep the water hot. (And it costs only $30 and will save you ~$45 per year.)
4) Wash your clothes in cold water. This is free and will save you ~$100 year. Today’s detergents work perfectly fine in cold water– really! Go a step further and air-dry your clothes on a drying rack– you just saved another $50.
5) Hopefully this one is old news by now: replace all of your lights with compact fluorescents and LEDs. Lighting is one of the largest uses of power in your home. If you spend $50 on new lights, you’ll save over $100 in power (and new bulbs) within the first year. And if you use LEDs– which are 10+ times more efficient than compact fluorescents– you’ll save any more. Check out CFLs and LED lighting options here.
For many more ideas for how you can go low-impact and save money, be sure to use our Household Environmental Impact Calculator. It will tell you your LILI (Low Impact Living Index) and also give you a robust list of green projects you can undertake to use less energy, water, reduce your trash load, and much more. Get the Low Down!