Spring is here, and with the warmer weather it’s the ideal time to think of some home and garden renovations. With “going green” in mind, why not consider some larger, or smaller, upgrades you can do, which will reduce your carbon footprint AND save money!
Service your air conditioner. Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption as much as 15 percent. And before we get our first heat wave, check your air conditioner’s evaporator coil. It should be cleaned annually to make sure that the system is performing at optimal levels.
Upgrade your air conditioner. The newer high efficiency air conditioners reduce AC costs by 20-50 percent. Maybe it’s time for an AC upgrade that pays for itself!
Ceiling fans have been used in the US “deep south” for generations in order to cool rooms naturally. By installing ceiling fans to cool your home, you can lower your thermostat at least 4 degrees. This, in turn, lowers your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort.
Cook outside. Why not upgrade that small outdoor grill to a larger BBQ with a burner? Then on warm days, you can cook most or all of your meals outside, which keeps the heat out of your home (and saves wear and tear on the AC).
Bring in sunlight. Now that we have long daylight hours, you can save lighting costs in your home by making sure you’ve got window coverings that make easy to open blinds, draw the curtains and let the light in.
Efficient window treatments. In summer, as well as winter, energy efficient window treatments such as honey-comb blinds slash heat gain when temperatures rise, especially on southern and western exposure windows. Inexpensive and easy to install, these improve the look of your home and reduce energy use by up to 35 percent.
Increase ventilation. A cross breeze during warm weather is one of the most effective ways to cool a home or apartment. Check your windows and doors and make sure you can open enough windows to take advantage of nature’s AC! Maybe it’s time to upgrade your doors or replace a few windows with models that have vents and screens.
Switch to a programmable thermostat. On warm days, setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can help reduce your energy costs by approximately 10 percent.
Shade trees are one of the most cost effective ways of reducing solar heat gain in your house and reducing AC costs. In fact, in shaded neighbourhoods, temperatures are estimated to be at least 6 percent cooler! No room for a tree? Shrubs and plants around the foundation of your home also cool the air before it reaches inside!
Mulch it! Put part of your garden budget toward mulch this year. Mulch reduces water needed for plants, cools their roots, and cuts down on weeds.