Homes have a significant environmental impact and besides reducing yours to lessen your environmental impact, you will also save money on your monthly energy bills.
You don’t have to sacrifice your indoor comfort or go without to decrease your carbon footprint when you put these practices into play in your home:
Unplug those chargers
Chargers for many portable devices, like phones, cameras and music players continue to draw electricity even when they’re not charging anything. The phenomenon is called vampire power and the U.S. EPA reports that Americans waste $10 billion worth of energy each year by leaving the chargers plugged in continuously.
The easiest way to manage these losses is to label all your chargers and put them in one place. When you need to charge something, plug it into a power strip. Unplug it after it’s charged. Getting everyone in the habit of pulling the plug can help you save approximately $100 a year, according to the EPA.
Keep filters clean
If your home uses a forced-air heating or cooling system, keep the air filters clean. Not only does your indoor air quality suffer when the filters are dirty, it increases your energy consumption. The airflow slows, making your HVAC equipment run longer.
The EPA reports that heating and cooling takes about half the energy you use indoors, so tending to those filters will cut your energy bills and environmental impact.
Keep the filter for your clothes dryer clean, as well. The dryer will finish your clothing faster and you’ll reduce the amount of energy you use. It’s also safer to run your dryer with a clean filter, since lint ignites easily.
Solar panels on your rooftop or your yard will cut your carbon footprint. Solar energy is clean and free. Depending on the size and quality of the system you install, you can even take advantage of a federal tax credit covering 30 percent of the cost of the system and its installation. These credits are in effect through the end of 2016.
Solar systems generate power for your home and if you live in a region that allows net metering, your electric provider may pay you for the power you create but don’t use. If you need to replace your HVAC equipment now or in the near future, you can install solar-ready HVAC equipment that can run exclusively off the power you generate from the solar panels.
Annette Hazard is a freelance writer that is promoting Vivint along with Vivint’s Twitter. She likes to write about the environment and home related topics.