Is the summer heat heavily impacting your utility bills? Are you constantly asking yourself how you can use less energy to save more money every month? Living green and staying earth-friendly remains top-of-mind for many Nashvillians, and many green features are being added to homes daily for increased value and efficiency. If you’re ready adopt a green lifestyle, keep the three “Rs” in mind when updating your home: reduce, replace and re-use.
When leaving a room, turn off lights, electronics and appliances. Many appliances like coffee pots, cell phone chargers, computers and televisions use energy even in off mode, so remember to use a power strip or unplug the device before leaving the house.
Another way to reduce your utility bill is to be cognizant about the number of dishwasher and washing machine loads you run each week. Instead of starting the dishwasher with only a few plates and cups, make sure these appliances have full loads. Furthermore, wash items on the cold setting and consider handwashing when you only have a few items to clean.
The summer sun is hot, so remember to close blinds and drapes and keep doors and windows closed while the air conditioner is running to naturally cool your home. Ceiling fans will also help air circulation, making it easier to heat and cool a room without much delay.
As you replace old appliances, look for the Energy Star label for savings in energy, money and time. For example, replace an old water heater with a tankless unit to eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water heated in a storage tank. Also, consider installing zone-based thermostats that can be controlled from anywhere by using a programmable app on a smartphone or tablet. These devices use motion sensors to heat and cool a room only when users are present and rooms are occupied. If faucets and toilets are leaky, install water-saving toilets and shower heads to control the amount of water you use daily.
Other energy-saving tips to keep in mind are: replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs, consider upgrading single- pane windows to double-pane windows for added insulation and replace air filters regularly to keep operating costs low – a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a new, clean filter.
Before you toss the newspaper, have you considered the many ways it could come in handy? If you plan to move, remodel or renovate in the coming months, newspaper is perfect for packing breakables or covering the floors and countertops when painting. It can also be used in your garden under mulch to discourage weeds or as wrapping paper around the holidays.
We tend to spend a lot of money on disposable paper products. To make better use of your space and budget, consider using sponges or rags rather than paper towels. Washable plates, coffee mugs and napkins will also save you less time in the paper goods aisle at the grocery, more money and less trips to the trash and recycling.
If the “going-green” process ever becomes daunting or overwhelming, contact one of our creative, knowledgeable agents at The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty.
Lawrence M. Lipman is the owner and president of The Lipman Group / Sotheby’s International Realty in Nash- ville. Real estate is Larry’s career, but also his passion, and he takes pride in guiding buyers and sellers through exciting home transitions at any budget. Larry welcomes questions and can be reached by calling 615-364-3333.