10 Ideas for Saving Money & Energy at Home

10 Ideas for Saving Money & Energy at Home

by Heleigh Bostwick, December 2009
Saving energy and saving money go hand in hand. Little changes can make a big difference for the planet and for your bank account. Check out these 10 simple tips for reducing your spending and your carbon footprint. Go ahead and give two or three of them a try. Mother Nature will thank you. And once you see the effects on your finances, you'll be looking for even more planet-friendly ways to save money and energy!

1. Carpool, bike, or use public transportation to commute to work

Let's face it, gas prices are high and commuting to work with any of these transportation methods will save you big bucks. The added bonus is that commuting this way is also planet-friendly. Even a day or two a week will make a difference. Many companies offer incentives for employees who carpool or take public transportation to work—check with your human resources department to see if your company has a commuter program. Or go one step further and ask your boss if you can telecommute. Who knows? He or she just might say yes!

2. Turn off your heater or air conditioner when you're not home

In any season, turning off your home's heater or air conditioner when you're not home can save you a lot of money. If you live in a region where turning the heat off isn't feasible, turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees when your home is unoccupied. You can also isolate rooms you don't use often and shut off the heat or air-conditioning completely in those rooms.

3. Use a bike or walk when running errands or traveling a short distance

If you're fortunate enough to live in a community where it's possible to get around on foot or by bike, then make the extra effort to do so. Bring a backpack if you have several items to drop off or pick up. Not only will it save money and energy, it's also a great way to burn off those extra calories.

4. Use shades and blinds to help control indoor temperatures

Windows play a big role in indoor temperatures. When the heater is on, close shades or blinds at night to avoid heat loss. Open them during the day and let the sun help warm your home. In the summer, keep the shades closed during the day to avoid extra heat indoors.

5. Shut down electronic equipment when you leave the house or go to bed

To make this task a breeze, plug electronic appliances and devices into power strips, then turn off the power strips at night or when you leave the house. You'll be surprised at the savings.

6. Use motion sensors for outside lights

Use motion sensors for your outdoor lights instead of letting them burn all night. You'll have the light when you need it, but you won't be paying for it when you don't. Motion sensors are fairly easy to install and your electric bill will be reduced dramatically.

7. Use CFL bulbs

Using CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs is one of the easiest steps a homeowner can take to save energy and money. You can replace your regular incandescent light bulbs all at once or simply replace them with CFLs when they burn out. You'll be surprised at how much longer these CFL bulbs last, saving money both on energy and on buying new bulbs. You'll be doing your pocketbook and the planet a favor.

8. Take advantage of the internet to save on gas

Using the internet to shop can save you money on gas for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is that you are sitting at home and not driving around. There's more to it however. The internet is a great way to comparison shop, find products you may never have thought of using, and with mega-stores like Amazon, it's perfect for "one stop shopping". There's no need to make phone calls to stores or drive around town looking for new products or the best bargains because it's all there at your fingertips.

9. Landscape with plants native to your region

When you plant flowers, trees, and shrubs that are native to your region, you can spend less time and money caring for your lawn. Native plants are already adapted to the local temperature, soil, and precipitation and are more able to survive extremes. They reduce water usage, preserve the local ecosystem, and save time and money because they require little or no fertilizer, pesticide, or extra water.

10. Shut everything down when you go on vacation

Unplug appliances, extinguish pilot lights, and turn off heaters and air conditioners—even for short trips. Add it to your packing to-do list to make it easy to remember.

Are you ready to start conserving?

These changes are easy to implement and have a big impact. For more energy- and money-saving tips, check out http://earth911.org/.