Some ways to make your home more environmentally friendly: Change the light bulbs. Use compact fluorescent lighting instead of incandescent bulbs in areas that are lit for two hours or longer.
They are five times as efficient and last up to 10 times longer.
But they burn out quickly if switched on and off frequently. They're also more expensive, at $4 to $15 a pop, depending on their type.
Install a programmable thermostat.
It automatically adjusts the home's temperature to match your schedule.
The units cost $40 to $100 and offer 10 to 15 per cent in savings.
Seal air leaks. Caulk or weatherstrip cracks that let in outside air, then add insulation.
A heating and cooling contractor should check the home's airtightness and perform a combustion safety test to make sure the gas- or oil-burning appliances are working properly.
Use energy-efficient appliances in your home.
Energy Star appliances are designed to use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard appliances.
Focus on refrigerators, because they run constantly.
Replacing a fridge that's 10 years old with a newer, more energy-efficient model could cut your annual energy bill by $100.
Landscape properly. Deciduous trees on the west and south sides of a house help shade it during the summer.
Hedges and trees on the north side block wind in the winter.
Plus, one tree can filter about 27 kilograms of pollutants from the air each year.
Recycle. Use materials that are renewable, contain recycled products, or can be easily dismantled and reused.
Cut down on transportation costs by buying locally.
Work with qualified professionals.
Do more research.
(The Washington Post)