With the high energy costs that we pay here in Southern California, many homeowners are searching for ways to decrease their energy usage. There are many ways to lower your energy bills, and, if you are willing to make some small changes, it’s even possible to achieve the goal of living in a zero energy home. This may seem like a fantasy to some, but it is definitely an option, and here are some tips to get you started:
- Turn everything off when you leave the room. Many of us are guilty of wandering out of rooms, or even leaving the house, with lights, computers, and televisions still on. Turning off items that you aren’t actively using is a big step toward lowering your energy usage. It may seem like an annoyance at first, but once you get into the habit, it’s easy, and you’ll enjoy the decrease in your electric bills.
- Replace old appliances. Older appliances, electronics, and HVAC systems tend to be wasteful, and many have become even less efficient over time. Upgrade your heating and cooling system and appliances to Energy Star models and watch your energy usage drop very quickly.
- Eliminate air leaks. Even if you have an ultra-efficient heating and cooling system, air leaks and gaps in insulation can mean a lot of wasted energy. Make sure the whole house is well-insulated, and seal any leaks near floorboards, doors, and windows with caulk or spray-foam.
- Invest in producing your own energy. Unless you’re living in very primitive conditions, you’ll need to make an investment in some renewable energy sources to reach the status of a zero energy home. Fortunately, small-scale home solar power systems have become simpler and more affordable in recent years, so installing a system at your home may be a great option, especially in our sunny climate. Some local utility companies also offer options for those who want to purchase energy from renewable sources.