With summer just around the corner and temperatures heating up, this is a good time to think green.
There are lots of ways you can help the Earth, and making your home green is a good one. Here's how to get started:
Reduce air-conditioning use. Air-conditioning, whether a central system or an in-window unit, uses lots of energy. Instead, use fans, keep windows and doors shut, and close shades during the day.
Add energy-efficient windows. They will not only reduce the heat inside your home during the warmer months, but will also help to keep the heat in during the cooler months.
If you are upgrading your home, buy Energy Star appliances, which use less electricity and water than other appliances.
Solar panels can save you money and could increase the value of your property.
Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
Replace standard incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) and save 75 percent of lighting costs.
Manage the power on all computers and ensure that they are turned off every night. Note: Laptops use 90 percent more energy than most desktop computers.
When possible, wash clothes in cold water; about 90 percent of the energy used in a washing machine goes toward water heating.