It’s nearly 2015. Many people agree that global climate change is happening, that human activity does influence it, and that putting the brakes on it is critical to our continued economic well-being.

The problem is, where to start?

Like all social values, good stewardship begins in the home. Fortunately, it’s easy to effect green changes at home. When you do, you won’t just be helping to address the climate crisis. You’ll also enjoy reduced energy bills, and most likely increased comfort in your home as well. Here are a few simple things you can do to start:

Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. If you are still using incandescent bulbs, swap them for ENERGY STAR certified bulbs. You’ll save up to 90 percent on your lighting costs. And because the bulbs burn
70-90 percent cooler, you’ll even save on summer cooling bills, too!

Power down your electronics. You probably already turn out the lights when you leave the house, but did you ever think to shut off or unplug your computer or other devices? Even in sleep mode, electronic devices suck a small amount of energy as long as they’re plugged in – that’s why they’re often called “energy vampires.” You can use an online energy calculator to find out exactly how much energy you may be losing in this way. An easy way to power down electronics is by plugging them into a power strip. That way you can turn several off with one flip of the switch.

Adjust your thermostat. Want to save 5-15 percent on your heating bills in 2015? Just pile the comforters on your bed and bump down the heat 8-10 degrees at night. According to Energy.gov, you’ll save up to 1 percent per degree setback — and you’ll probably sleep better, too. You can use a programmable thermostat to bring the heat up automatically in the morning, so you can still get out of bed in comfort.

Eliminate those drafts. Cold blasts of outside air make your home’s interior uncomfortable in which to live. They also suck huge amounts of heat from your home, costing you a bundle over the course of the heating season. It pays to go through your home with a tube of caulk and some weather stripping, and seal any obvious gaps.

These suggestions are a great way to start, and easy for anyone to do. Once you’ve implemented these, you’ll be ready for the next steps in improving your energy profile. We recommend having a home performance expert do an energy audit on your home. His report will help you determine the most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use even further.

By then, you may find that you’re ready for the ultimate green power in your home — a solar electric or solar hot water system. When you are, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help!