Easy Home Hacks to Save Energy and Money

by Lauren Steeves May 25, 2018

When calculating ways to save money, cost-cutting fixes like easing up on eating out or holding off on travel often spring to mind first. However, there are plenty of ways to save that hit closer to home.

With the rise of energy efficient technology, a few simple household adjustments could mean a huge difference on your energy bill. These energy-saving tips use technology to help lower your energy bills and power your home more efficiently — all without giving up that dinner out with friends or weekend getaway.

Bright idea


Lightbulbs may be small, but they can make a big impact on your energy bill. The light emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most revolutionary products. In fact, in 2014 the Nobel Committee awarded the Physics Prize to three scientists for their 1990s invention of “efficient blue light-emitting diodes [LEDs], which has enabled a bright, energy-saving white light source.”

So, what makes LED lights such a game-changer? LED bulbs have cut electricity use by 85% compared to incandescent light bulbs and by 40% compared to fluorescent light. LEDs can also sustain five years of non-stop use, which is 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the Department of Energy.

Beyond making the leap to LED lighting, embrace new smart light bulbs with dimming capabilities. While smart lighting is initially more expensive, the features, savings and ease-of-use is worth your investment. The dimming capabilities can lessen energy use, and bulbs operated at lower output tend to last longer.

What’s more, smart lighting allows for your own personal movement sensor, so you can prevent that bathroom or outdoor light burning all evening. Boasting more than just convenience, smart light bulbs also last 40 times longer than incandescent lighting.

And, just to make sure that someone is flicking off the lights when you leave a room, you can connect your smart bulb to your phone through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Your energy bill will reflect the rewards for years to come.

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LED bulbs have cut electricity use by 85% compared to incandescent light bulbs and by 40% compared to fluorescent light.
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There’s an app for that


Want to closely monitor your energy usage and carbon footprint? Apps like CURB help you take control of — and better understand — household energy use. It shows exactly how much energy appliances consume hourly and annually. Plus, it shares weekly reports to identify changes in consumption and to provide cost-cutting recommendations.

Studies have shown that real-time insight into energy consumption may result in savings of up to 12%. Neurio and Smappee are other energy monitoring apps to check out.
 

“Smart” home


One trend that is showing no signs of slowing down is the demand for smart home technology. According to MarketsandMarkets.com, the smart home market is expected to surge to nearly $140 billion in the next five years. One of the driving factors is the interest in energy savings. In fact, 86% of millennials indicated that they would pay more for a rental if it already had smart home technologies installed.

Smart thermostats, which monitor the temperature outside and tailor heating and cooling cycles indoors, are the standout. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the U.S. Department of Energy states that “heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home —  typically accounting for 42% of your utility bill.” According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat can save households up to $180 per year in heating and cooling costs.

One of the most recent advances in the smart heating realm is zoning capabilities. Worcester Bosch is the first to launch this new feature this spring with its Bosch EasyControl, which can split household rooms such as the kitchen and bedroom into separate “zones,” allowing for customized heating in each area.

Proof that smarter is better, Nest, which has designed a line of Wi-Fi enabled home devices, shared two independent studies on its website that analyzed energy bills before and after homeowners installed Nest’s thermostats. The studies revealed that the smart thermostat cut cooling costs by 15% and reduced heating usage by 10-12%.

 

Insulate your space


Insulation also plays a major role in heating and energy expenses, and can cut down energy costs by over 40% when properly installed. Unless your home was specifically constructed for energy efficiency you can likely reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation to your attic, roof or windows.

Plus, insulation pays for itself in approximately five to six years. Insulation can reduce drafts so your home loses less heat, making it much more affordable to heat. The U.S. Department of Energy offers tips on how to detect and seal air leaks, so you can optimize your home’s energy efficiency.

This savings hack isn’t just for free-standing homes either. Apartment dwellers can boost energy efficiency by weather-stripping their windows or caulking air leaks with very low material costs that add up to immediate savings.

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A programmable thermostat can save households up to $180 per year in heating and cooling costs.
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Sun powered


Imagine if you could generate your own power? Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heat and in recent years have become more affordable than you might assume. According to a 2017 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have become more affordable globally, with prices declining over 80% in seven years, while the cost of a solar electric system has dropped by about 65%.

The total cost savings of solar panels depends on three factors: the hours of direct daily sunlight your home receives, the size and angle of your roof and your local electricity rates. On average, the savings solar panels provide can be significant, upward of $30,000 over a 20-year period. If curious, test out EnergySage’s Solar Calculator to see how much you could save.

Just think, lower energy bills and a boost to the value of your home are just a few smart energy-saving steps away.

Lauren Steeves gets a real thrill from uncovering home savings hacks. It’s the little things. Her work has appeared in Notable Life, Branded Magazine and The Ace Class, among others.

 

 

The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article.