I've always maintained that the wallet--not the heart--can drive the nation toward energy efficiency. Despite our most admirable convictions, it's been the rising cost of energy that has fuelled Americans' efforts to cut back on burning up energy. Now, even the financial mavens at Yahoo have gotten into the act, advising consumers that the green movement reflects both the environment and the color of money.
To wit, the financial editors at Yahoo have published sound suggestions for changes--large and small--you can make at home right now to cut your power, water, and sewer bills.
White Elastomeric Roof Coating
If you live in sunny climes, Yahoo says, rolling white Elastomeric polymer paint on your black roofing tiles can reduce summer cooling costs by 40 percent, for a $120 annual savings.
Cut Sewer Costs with Irrigation Meters
Avoid paying twice (to pump, then to dump) for home water. Irrigation meters cost a few hundred dollars to install, but they measure water that goes on your lawn or into your garden and local utility companies won't charge you sewer costs on it.
Drop Your Water Heater Thermostat
Most homeowners have water heater thermostats set at least 140 degrees, costing them plenty to heat up fresh, cold water to the desired temperature. The Environmental Protection Agency, Yahoo says, clocks the charge to between $36 and $61 annually in unnecessary utility costs. Lower the thermostat to 120 degrees. It's an easy way to create sustainability.
Re-insulate Where Necessary
Insulation can spare you the cost equal to keeping a large window open all winter long, Yahoo says. Expanding caulk or foam can tighten up leaks in doors, windows, and utility passages into your home.
Buy and Set a Programmable Thermostat
There's no use setting temperatures on your thermostat if you're going to keep adjusting it day and night when you get chills. Instead, buy an inexpensive (less than $30) programmable thermostat that raises the heat for the hours your family is home from work or school, and turns on the air conditioning around the same hours for the summer. You can spare yourself as much as $200 a year in energy costs. But you have to accept the settings. Put on a sweater if you're a little cool rather than cranking up the heat. Or use a low-wattage fan in the summer rather than playing pogo-stick with your thermostat.
All good ideas!