5 ways to make your home more energy-efficientSeeing green? You’re not alone. Energy efficiency and environmental awareness are hot topics as more people not only seek ways to be more environmentally friendly themselves, but also make their homes and businesses greener, too.

Some environmentally friendly practices like recycling, carpooling and cutting back on electricity consumption are widely recognized as easy-to-make changes that can add up to make a big difference. Yet when it comes to making additional eco-friendly changes around your house, for example, it can be hard to know where to start.

The good news? Making your home more environmentally friendly is actually pretty easy. Try one of these five tips as a starting point. Trying one or all of them will make a big difference in your home’s energy-efficiency, and that can translate to increased cost savings. It’s a win-win situation!

5 Tips to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Swap your light bulbs. The next time you head to the store for more light bulbs, make sure you buy compact fluorescent bulbs. They’re more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but they last exponentially longer, which means they’re cheaper in the long run. Look for bulbs with the Energy Star certified logo, which means they’ve met minimum standards for long life and light quality.

Unplug and unwind. Even when your electrical devices are off, they can still leach power in what’s called the “vampire effect.” To prevent this unnecessary use of power, unplug appliances and other devices when they’re not in use. Or use power strips, which you can easily turn on and off depending on when you need those particular power sources.

High-tech thermostats. In the market for a new thermostat? Consider switching to a programmable model. It may not sound like much, but lowering your thermostat by one or two degrees can add up to big savings on your energy bill. If you’re in the market to splurge, the Nest thermostat learns your schedule so it can program your home’s temperature accordingly. Plus, you can control it from your phone, meaning you can still lower or raise your home’s temperature even when you’re not there.

Improve your insulation. Replacing your home’s insulation (especially if you’re in an older home) is one of the most effective ways to save energy. Plus, a number of eco-friendly insulation varieties are now available, including insulation made from recycled jeans.

Soak up the sun. Residential solar panels are becoming increasingly common. And although initially they can be expensive to install, you’ll make your money back throughout the lifetime of the solar panels. Try adding a few solar panels to your home’s roof to see how much solar energy you can generate, then expand the installation over time. Or try adding solar yard lights, a small project that can still make a big difference.

Any of these projects is a great starting point for making your home more energy efficient. The great thing about eco-friendly improvements is that you’ll eventually recoup your investment as a result of energy savings, which means you’re not only helping the planet — you’re keeping your wallet happy, too!

Have you made any energy efficiency improvements around your house? We’d love to hear your tips!

Image by Tom Raftery via Creative Commons