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If you’re ready to “go green,” you have a lot of choices, from switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs to buying a “net zero” home that produces as much energy as it uses.
Making just one change each year can do wonders for your energy bill—and help you do your part to make your home more efficient so it uses fewer natural resources. Here are five ideas:
1. Start small. Replace your old incandescent lightbulbs and fixtures with LED light fixtures, which use 75 percent less energy. A bonus: Most of them last for about 10 years, so you can stop changing lightbulbs.
2. Buy smart. If your refrigerator, heating/air-conditioning unit or washing machine is 10 years old, it’s probably an energy hog. When it’s time to replace a home appliance, choose one with the Energy Star label, which means it meets stringent government standards for energy efficiency.
3. Save water. Some households waste more water than they use. You can remedy that by turning off faucets while brushing your teeth and shaving, and by taking shorter showers. Plus, if you install low-flow faucets and toilets, you’ll use less water with every shower and flush.
4. Think “green.” Homeowners have lots of opportunities to choose a sustainable or energy-efficient product over one that’s less beneficial to the environment. Keep that in mind as you select cleaning products and items packaged in a lot of plastic that will wind up in a landfill. And if you’re remodeling, consider using durable products that won’t wind up in the trash after a few years, and use materials made from renewable sources and grown in sustainable forests.
5. Take control. There’s no reason to heat or cool your house for maximum comfort when nobody’s home. Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature to save energy when everyone leaves the house in the morning and then reset it for comfort just before you get home. New models let you control them using your smartphone, which means if your schedule changes, you can “tell” your house to get ready for your return.