Read on for tips to make your home more eco-friendly. Tyler / Adobe Stock
Andrew Mason, the general manager of GHBuilders, offers tips for upping your home’s eco-friendliness and lowering your energy bill.
Installing solar panels, triple-pane windows, or reinsulating your home are three ways to reduce a carbon footprint that looms large. But if such major, and costly, measures are not on your to-do list, there are several quick and easy ways to make your house a whole lot greener — and lower your energy bills in the process.
Andrew Mason, the New York State general manager of GH Builders, which builds green homes from the ground up and helps contractors get into the green space, suggests, for starters, that homeowners invest in a smart thermostat. “You program it to lower the heat and cooling when you’re out, and it will get to know your trends,” he says.
Then, consider a ceiling fan in as many rooms as possible. “Air movement is important,” Mason says. “If the air is always moving, you might not need the AC as much.”
While he acknowledges that adding budget-busting insulation or completely reinsulating your home is “one of the biggest things you can do; it’s huge,” going room-to-room on an “aero feeling” mission is truly the next best thing. “A little gap around a window or door, multiplied by every window and door in your house, is like having a big hole in the side of it.” This is a fairly easy DIY fix-it job, he notes, involving a quick trip to the hardware store for simple weather-stripping materials.
Taking the air-leak survey a step further, Mason says that in homes in which the heating and/or cooling unit is old, an HVAC company can seal up air leaks that have likely developed over time. “Probably 30 percent of every dollar is going out the window through those holes.”
In addition, he says, waste no time fixing leaky faucets and toilets, consider low-flow toilets and showerheads, and run the washing machine on cold. Plus, purchase only ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, LED lightbulbs, and position rain-collection barrels under all your downspouts to see how your garden grows with recycled rainwater.