Four Simple Tasks to Complete Right Now to Make Your Entire Home a Little Greener
Want to make your home a bit more eco-friendly? Here's the good news: This is not a huge to-do list or a mandate to replace everything you own. Instead, we're sharing simple tips that will bring your household a few steps closer to living a greener, more sustainable lifestyle in every room of your home from the bathroom to the kitchen and the living room, too.
Reach for the Energy Stars
That is, LED bulbs with that label. They use 70 to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent, and last 10 to 25 times longer. Look for 2,700 to 3,000 kelvins to cast a warm, ambient light. We like Cree bulbs (from $4.50 for two, homedepot.com). To stretch their lives (and lower your bill even more), set them on a dimmer.
Stop Water Leaks
Act before they wreak havoc. Ask a plumber to install a system like Grohe's Sense Guard ($681, grohe.us) in your main water line; it monitors the pressure and will shut off the supply and alert you via an app if it senses a change.
Do an Energy Audit
Hire an expert to find out how much your home wastes. She'll examine it from attic to basement, do a blower-door test for air leaks (among other checks), and review your energy bills. The average cost in the U.S. is $300 to $800; find a pro at hersindex.com.
Get Serious About Solar
It's an investment, but a smart one, since "panelists" get a 30 percent tax rebate and lower bills. Tesla's new Solar Roof tiles even look like regular shingles. First, see if your roof's a fit. The climate and its shape, angle, and age factor in; south-facing ones with a 15- to 40- degree slope work best. For advice, call a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners–approved contractor, says solar expert Johnny Weiss.