An energy efficient home isn’t just some fad in the green movement. The level of water, energy, fuel and electricity a home consumes, as well as its ability to retain or repel heat, can be dramatically improved, saving you money on bills. Environmental consciousness is always the right thing to do, but with a few renovations, it can also be the economically smart thing to do. Save real money through lower utility bills with a green home.
The Top-Down Approach: A Green Roof
Your roof is your home’s biggest asset*, and it’s also a big area that can save you money. Having a green roof installed is very expensive compared to traditional roofs. The average cost of a green roof begins at $10 to 12 per square foot in comparison to a more conventional roof, costing $5 to $6 per square foot. But if you’re willing to absorb the high initial cost, a green roof can save you money over time. The shingles and insulation are designed to reduce as much heat transfer as possible. This will reduce energy and keep your home naturally cooler, giving your air conditioner a bit of a break.
Here’s a breakdown of how the savings work:
- The green roof helps to cool your home, so your air conditioner doesn’t have to.
- This helps to regulate the temperate and results in a 10% reduction from your air conditioner.
- With your air conditioner working less, your cooling costs reflected on your next energy bill will decrease by about 20%.
- If the average home energy bill totals $160 per month, that’s an average saving of over $30 each month.
- If the price difference between a regular and green roof is at least $5 per square foot, it would take years to make that initial investment back with the cost savings offered with a custom roof.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances, Starting with the Washer & Dryer
Going green is easy with a few simple steps. One easy way is to purchase efficient appliances. The washer and dryer are probably the most energy and water-intensive appliances in the entire house. Three trillion gallons of water are wasted through the use of low-efficiency washers every year in America. Look for an appliance with the ENERGY STAR label before you make your next purchase. These units have a higher up-front cost, but will save money on bills in the long run.
Here’s how it works:
- A regular washer or dryer can be purchased for $300 to $700 in comparison to a high-efficiency machine for $600 to $1,500.
- If the average price of a regular washer is $440 and $1,000 for a high-efficiency washer, the price difference is $560.
- A normal washer costs roughly $0.62 in energy and water, but a high efficiency washer costs $0.41 in energy, saving $0.21 per load.
- If the average household does 2,000 loads per year, the savings could be $420 per year easily making up for the difference in price over the first 2 years of ownership. Meaning, the high efficiency washer is a smart purchase because the savings will increase overtime.
To maximize your cost savings, be mindful and wash full loads of laundry. Buy detergent in bulk with the least amount of packaging available. This will take a load off your water bill every month.
Watch Out for Vampire Power
Also called standby power, vampire power is the slow bleed of electricity through appliances that are turned off, but still plugged in. Appliances and electronics are especially susceptible to vampire power when they have remote controls, internal clocks or LED displays. The loss of electricity to standby power draw can be negated by unplugging rarely used items such as a television in a guest room, or by linking “bundles” of electronics (a computer, printer and scanner) to a unified power strip with a single switch.
- It’s estimated that if all products that use standby power were turned off on a regular basis, a cost reduction of $35 per year would appear on electricity bills.
- While the yearly estimate is fairly low, it is still a cost-saver in the long run.
Standby power can bleed resources slowly over time, but dishwashers, washing machines and other guzzlers of water and electricity should always be purchased with long-term cost in mind. Start with an examination of your roof, get creative with water conservation and look for the ENERGY STAR label.
Want your home to be more environmentally-friendly? We have a list of experts in all areas of the home who can help!