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Smart changes in your home can equal a big payoff for the environment and your budget

The demand for electricity could decrease by 125 billion kilowatt hours (the annual output of 16 power plants) if half the light switches in every American home were replaced with dimmer controls.

Look no further than your own home for ways to make a difference. You’ve seen how to transform large spaces in our kitchen and laundry makeovers, but small improvements matter too. Thanks to environmentally friendly products, helping to sustain our planet’s resources can be as simple as changing a light bulb.

Replacing a few household items with energy-saving options not only can reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases, but also can save you valuable dollars each month. Check out these budget-friendly products that will help make your home more energy efficient.

Weather Stripping

Weather Stripping

COST: Around $10 per roll
BENEFIT: Adding or replacing the weather stripping around doors and windows prevents drafts and dust from entering your home. This, combined with ensuring that other leaks are sealed and your home is properly insulated, can cut your energy bills by 10%.

Low-Flow Showerhead

Low-Flow Showerhead

COST: $35
BENEFIT: Select a showerhead that features water-saving settings and gives the feeling of a high-flow shower with less water. It uses an average of 25 gallons per 10-minute shower, so it can reduce energy bills up to $145 annually.

Dimmer Switches

Dimmer Switches

COST: Between $20 and $50
BENEFIT: Dimming your lights reduces the amount of energy needed and preserves the bulb life. If you dim them by only 25%, you’ll save 20% electricity, and your bulbs will last up to four years longer.

Air Filters

Air Filters

COST: $5 to $20
BENEFIT: Replacing your air filter every one to three months not only sifts out pollutants and allergens for cleaner indoor air, but it also keeps the HVAC system running at its peak and prevents it from working harder, which wastes energy. Overworking your system also may result in costly repairs to major parts of your system.

Programmable Thermostat

COST: Between $30 and $100
BENEFIT: It allows you to set an exact climate that adjusts to your needs (whether you are at home or away). This eliminates energy production when it’s not needed. An ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat can save you up to $150 per year when used properly.

Heat-Control Platinum Window Film

COST: About $25 for a 2- x 15-foot roll
BENEFIT: Cover your windows with this protective film, and watch your energy bills drop. It reflects 70% of summer heat and 99% of UV rays. The film also helps to retain up to 55% of your home’s circulated heat during winter months. You could save up to $260 annually, depending on where you live.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Windows

ENERGY STAR Qualified Windows

COST: Starting at $140
BENEFIT: New materials, multiple panes, and low-energy glass all work together to better insulate the home. You could reduce your annual energy bills by as much as 20% and save $125 to $450 a year.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

COST: $2 to $5 per bulb, depending on the size
BENEFIT: CFLs today supply the best lighting quality ever and are available in styles such as dimmable, three-way, decorative, and outdoor. ENERGY STAR CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, plus they can be used up to 10 times longer, resulting in lower energy bills and fewer trips to the store for replacements. You also could save $30 or more over the bulb’s lifetime.

Источник: Журнал Creative Ideas (Сентябрь-Октябрь) 2007


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