6 environmentally friendly practices that will save you money

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 19 Oct 2015 13:45

Sure, some environmental practices can be extremely expensive. Installing a wind turbine in your backyard, for example, may turn out to be more costly than the energy savings can recoup for years to come.

There are some surprisingly cost-effective practices that are also very good for the environment, though. If your utility bills and monthly expenses are continuing to grow, you might want to try a few of the following strategies to reduce your costs.

1. Change Light Bulbs

CFL and LED lights are far more efficient and last longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs that use 90 percent of their energy to generate heat rather than brightness. On average, homeowners who switch to more efficient bulbs save $75 a year. It’s not much, but it’s enough to take your family out for a nice dinner.

2. Get a Device Protection Plan

Not many people realize how much energy and resources they can save by getting a device protection plan. This kind of plan goes beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, which typically covers just mechanical issues (not accidental) for a period of no more than 12 months.

This means that if you drop your phone in the toilet, you can use the warranty to fix your phone at no charge, for example, rather than having to throw it out and purchase an expensive new device. If the protection plan sponsor must replace your phone, it will at least recycle the old one and save the usable parts.

This is a much better alternative to piling landfills with old gadgets.

3. Use Alternative Transportation to Get to Work

Walking, biking, carpooling, and public transport are excellent for both your budget and your wallet. Using the Kiplinger calculator, you can estimate how much it could save you personally to walk or bike to work. Many Americans are surprised to discover they can save thousands on fuel and car repairs each year by using alternative transportation.

4. Install Energy Star-Rated Appliances

If you’re still running appliances from the early 2000s, 1990s, or earlier, they’re probably a major contributor to your high energy bill. The U.S. Department of Energy has put a lot of research into designing more sustainable appliances that carry the Energy Star rating. By switching to these appliances, you can save a few hundred a year, after the cost of installation.

5. Weather-Proof Your Home

The primary cause of high heating and cooling bills is improper weatherproofing. Windows and doors that lack proper insulation and caulking allow air to leak in and out, which forces your HVAC system work overtime. Improper insulation in your walls can also increase unwanted airflows.

6. Plant Trees and Plants

You can add more green to your life (both literally and in your wallet, given the increased energy efficiency) by planting a few trees and plants. A well-placed tree or bush can provide shade over a window that suffers direct afternoon sunlight, and that will lower your energy bills.

Choosing drought-resistant landscaping is also a great way to cut down on consumption of water and fertilizer.

Conserving the earth’s resources and saving money can go hand in hand. It’s easier to do your part for the environment when you benefit as well.

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