To Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House, Follow This Checklist
By Diane MacEachern / green.answers.com

Because climate change is caused by the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when fossil fuels like coal and oil are burned, saving energy is an important way to slow and even stop the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere. Most people can save the most energy by reducing the amount of energy they use at home. Part 1 of this checklist identifies the first five of ten steps that will cut home energy use significantly. Part 2 will highlight five additional steps to save energy at home.

1

Caulk or weatherstrip windows and doors.

Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of most utility bills, so offers the most opportunities for money and energy savings. Caulking or applying weather stripping around leaky doors and windows will reduce heating needs as soon as they're applied. You can find weatherstripping and caulk at most hardware stores or online. Materials for the average twelve-window, two-door house could cost around $25. But savings in annual energy costs might amount to more than 10 percent of a home's yearly heating bill.

2

Install new, energy-saving windows and doors.

Combination screen and storm windows and doors are the most convenient and energy efficient because they can be opened easily when the weather is pleasant. Installing high efficiency ENERGY STAR windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by 15 percent. Alternatively, cover existing windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet stretched across the frame (again, check the local hardware store for an inexpensive do-it-yourself kit). Standard drapes, or thermal draperies made with a thick, fiber-filled backing to fit snugly against the entire window frame, can also reduce heat loss.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every gas-heated home were properly caulked and weather-stripped, we'd save enough natural gas each year to heat almost 4 million more homes.

3

Install a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat lets homeowners predetermine temperatures for daytime and evening comfort as well as energy savings. Homeowners can save as much as 20 percent on home heating by reducing temperatures by 5 degrees at night and 10 degrees during the day, when most people are out of the house.

4

Get an energy audit.

Many local utilities provide specially trained auditor's to examine a home and explain what inexpensive and free energy conservations can be taken to save energy and money immediately. An audit will also identify attics, crawl spaces and walls in need of additional insulation.

5

Insulate.

Reduce home energy needs by as much as 20 to 30 percent and save about four months' worth of household energy by investing in insulation. Target crawl spaces, the attic or top floor ceiling, exterior walls, basement ceilings and walls and rooms over unheated spaces, like garages. An energy audit will identify specific areas where insulation will make the biggest difference in home much energy the home uses.

Using less energy at home is something every homeowner can do to save energy and help reduce climate change. Part 2 of this article highlights five additional energy-saving actions that make a difference.

 

Part 2

Virtually every homeowner can take simple and affordable steps to use less energy. Part 1 of this series shone the spotlight on tightening up doors, windows, attics and crawlspaces. It explained the importance of getting an audit to show where insulation can make the biggest difference, and highlighted how programmable thermostats can help automate home energy efficiency. Part 2 of this series focuses on the hot water heater, furnace, and appliances.

1

Set your water heater to 120 degrees.

If you currently heat your water to 140 degrees you might save as much as 10 percent on water-heating costs by dialing the thermostat down a bit. 120 degrees is still plenty hot!

2

Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket.

The higher the "R" value (which indicates how much insulation the blanket will provide), the better. You can get a water-heater insulation blanket as a kit at your local hardware store. Choose a blanket that will accommodate the size of your water heater (e.g., 30 gallons, 40 gallons, etc.). Follow the directions on the package to install. If you have a gas water heater, don't wrap the top in insulation because it could catch fire from the heat being exhausted. Electric water heaters have no exhaust, so you can wrap the top as well as the sides. For both gas and electric water heaters, do not cover the control panels, pressure or temperature relief valves, or access panels.

DID YOU KNOW?

If just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, the environmental benefit would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.

3

Be smart about hot water.

Most laundry can be washed in cold water and still come clean. That will help. So will installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, tightening up leaky faucets, and washing full loads of laundry and dishes. See: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program provides more information on energy- and water-efficient showerheads and faucets.

4

Maintain your furnace.

Oil furnaces should be serviced at least once a year to save 10 percent in fuel consumption. Regularly clean or replace the filers in forced-air heating systems. Dust or vacuum radiator surfaces weekly. And if you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use to avoid losing as much as 8 percent of your home's heated or cooled air.

5

Choose ENERGY STAR appliances.

When it's time to replace your refrigerator, stove, air conditioner, and home electronics, choose ENERGY STAR models. They'll save you 10-50% on energy, which means you'll save money on your energy bills, too.

Energy-efficient homes can be an important part of the climate change solution, rather than part of the problem. The do-it-yourself actions highlighted in this series make it possible for every homeowner to make a difference.

 

3.5 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
This Polish Ad Will Give You The Feels, For Reals
3 min · 20,547 views today · This is an ad for Allegro, a Polish company similar to eBay, and it's heartwarmingly lovely.
Time-Lapse Satellite Images Give a Startling Snapshot of Past 30 Years on Earth
2 min · 19,639 views today · Working with satellite images from NASA and the US Geological Survey, Google has created a searchable snapshot of the past 3 decades on Earth, creating startling time-lapses of...
6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal
Mark Manson · 9,157 views today · There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe read a few...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 9,049 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Problem with Hating Our Enemies
Charles Eisenstein · 4,112 views today · He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if thou gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into thee. —Nietzsche
Dr. Maya Angelou: Love Liberates
5 min · 3,654 views today · Words to live by from Dr. Maya Angelou. Love each other.
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 2,392 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
How to Expose Trump's Dastardly Bait-And-Switch
Robert Borosage · 2,254 views today · Trump is not an economic populist, he’s just playing one on TV.
The Lid Is off, The Truth Is Coming Out
Charles Eisenstein · 1,870 views today · It is getting harder to keep a secret these days. The collective shadow of our society, once safely relegated to the dark basement of the unmentionable, is now exposed to...
Have You Heard of The Great Forgetting? It Happened 10,000 Years Ago & Completely Affects Your Life
Daniel Quinn · 1,288 views today · (Excerpted from the book, The Story of B) With every audience and every individual, I have to begin by making them see that the cultural self-awareness we inherit from our...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,278 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Sleaford Mods on Brexit Britain
4 min · 1,275 views today · In early 2014 the Guardian hailed duo Sleaford Mods as ‘the most uncompromising British protest music made in years’. Here, we go backstage at a Sleaford Mods gig in their...
15 Easy Things You Can Do to Help When You Feel Like Shit
Maritsa Patrinos · 1,187 views today · You don’t have to tackle it all at once.
Why You Should Stop Apologizing for Doing All That You Can
Kelly Hayes · 1,167 views today · I’ve noticed lately that a lot of allies and accomplices I talk to about NoDAPL and other struggles will name what they are trying to contribute to the cause, and then promptly...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 976 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Black on Black Crime Isn't a Myth
Donyae Coles · 777 views today · Let’s talk about Black on Black crime. Maybe you’ve heard about it on the news, specifically likely in regards to Black people murdered by other Black people. Perhaps you’ve...
Van Jones: Only a 'Love Army' Will Conquer Trump
Tim Dickinson · 696 views today · Though it's important to fight Trump's policies, "it's at the values level that we need to do a reset," says Jones
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 627 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 585 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 551 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
To Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House, Follow This Checklist