Global warming, diminishing sources of fossil fuels, thinning ozone layer, economic uncertainty – pick your poison. The upshot of any or all of these is that we simply have to reduce consumption and be more energy efficient. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for your bank account. So let’s consider 5 ways to make your home eco-friendly in Los Angeles.
1. Replace Bulbs
It seems like a small thing, but over time it can make a big difference – that is, replacing old incandescent light bulbs with newer, energy-efficient alternatives. Traditional incandescent bulbs can waste up to 90% of the energy they use as heat. That’s a lot of waste, but it’s an easy problem to fix.
One way to make your home eco-friendly is by using CFL bulbs. These are those bulbs that look like a coiled or spiral tube. They cost more upfront than incandescent bulbs, but because they last up to 10 times longer and use less energy, they more than make up for that cost. CFLs usually pay for themselves in about a year.
These CFLs are a good choice for most home lighting needs, but they do have a couple of drawbacks. They can’t be dimmed, and they use a good bit of energy when used in recessed or “can” lights. In addition, they contain a small amount of mercury, so they have to be carefully disposed of when the time comes.
Another good lighting alternative is LED bulbs. They typically last up to 35 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 2 to 4 times longer than CFL bulbs. Although they cost more than both incandescent and CFL bulbs, they will save you money over the long haul. They use only a fraction of the energy that incandescent bulbs do, and they last years longer.
Most LED lighting is directional, that is, focused in a specific direction a little like a spotlight. Because of this, it is an excellent choice for recessed lighting. Some manufacturers, though, make LED bulbs that emit light in the same omnidirectional fashion as incandescent bulbs. You can, then, find LED bulbs to meet any of your lighting needs.
2. Replace Shower Heads
Another small step that will do a lot to make your home eco-friendly in Los Angeles is simply to install low-flow shower heads. You may have tried these in the past and were less than satisfied. They are a lot different today, though, and do the job admirably. And they are relatively inexpensive, costing only about ten dollars or so, and easy to install.
With a standard showerhead, you will use about 4 to 6 gallons of water per minute. A low-flow, water-efficient shower head will cut that down to around 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute – less than half the water consumption. Keep in mind that nearly 25% of household water consumption is used for showers. So with low-flow showerheads, the typical family of four can save up to 18,200 gallons of water per year, not to mention the energy savings with having to heat less water for showers. On average, low-flow shower heads will save a family of four about $73 every year.
3. Install Programmable Thermostats
Do you really need your home comfortably cool in the summer and nice and toasty in the winter when you’re not even there? Probably not. And most of us prefer a cold bedroom for sleeping. But we also usually forget to adjust the thermostat for these times, and so wind up using more energy for heating and cooling than is really necessary.
A good solution here to make your home eco-friendly is to install programmable thermostats. These thermostats will allow you to regulate your home’s temperature without your having to adjust the thermostat all the time. You set it once, and let it make the temperature adjustment for when you’re away or sleeping. It’s an easy, hands-off way to save both energy and money.
4. Plug Leaks and Insulate
As you’re probably aware, weather stripping and caulking can help make your home eco-friendly. It pays, in both energy and money savings, to stop drafts and leaks around windows and doors. A little caulking and weather stripping could save you up to 30% on your energy bill in severe weather.
Also, make sure you have sufficient insulation in attics and basements. If you determine that you need additional insulation to conserve energy and save on heating and cooling bills, cellulose insulation is a good choice for eco-friendly insulation, much more so than traditional fiberglass insulation. This kind of insulation is typically made from recycled newspapers and is easy to blow in where needed.
Another step to take to make your household eco-friendly in Los Angeles is to begin composting. All that kitchen waste can thus be put to good use instead of going to the landfill. In fact, some experts estimate that composting can decrease your household garbage by up to 50%. You’ll also have all that soil-enhancing compost for your garden, flowers, and lawn, and you won’t have to use those harsh, chemical fertilizers any longer. A commercially produced composter makes it easy and has little to no odor.