Phoenix Green Remodeling Tips

Going “Green” doesn’t always have to mean buying solar panels, replacing all of your windows, or buying fancy appliances. There are ways you can save energy and cut costs without spending any money. With these green practices you can save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a year on your energy bills.

  1. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, so leaving your thermostat at the same temperature as it was set during the day doesn’t seem practical. Lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night can cut 10-20 % off your heating bill. During the winter, you may want to make yourself more comfortable by dressing warmer, instead of using raising the temperature of your home. Even a few degrees throughout the winter months can make a notable difference.
  2. You might not even know that your electric water heater is set at an unnecessarily high temperature. The best temperature to set your water heater at is around 120 (F). If you’re going on vacation, you should probably turn it off. A water heater is still consuming energy even when you’re not using it.
  3. If you keep finding yourself lowering the temperature of your fridge to keep your produce and milk cold, it might be working harder due to dirty coils.  Here is a quick video on how to clean your coils. Also, your fridge works harder when it’s empty, so try to keep it stocked. If you have a small budget for green remodeling, replacing your fridge should be a priority. Even fridge’s 10 years old use 3-4 times as much energy as newer models.
  4. When you leave your home, make sure to turn off all of your lights, TVs, and computers. If you are in the middle of something on your computer, put it on sleep mode. This will greatly reduce the energy consumed while you are away.
  5. Use your exhaust fans while using the bathroom and kitchen to avoid moisture from accumulating. Overtime, this can lead to costly and unhealthy mold problems.

If you have money in your remodeling budget for energy saving products, you may be surprised to find out that many of these investments pay for themselves over time. “Green” investments can take as little as two years to pay for themselves. In some cases, it may take a bit longer.

Here are some energy saving tips that will start to pay for themselves in 2 years or less:

  1. Manually adjusting your thermostat throughout the day is a way to cut down on your energy bill. But this only works if you are diligent and disciplined enough to change your thermostat on a regular basis. You can do this automatically with an automatic setback thermostat that can adjust the temperature on a regularly timed schedule. There are also specially designed thermostats if you are using a heat pump.
  2. Air leaks between ceilings or floors can cause heat loss which requires your heater or A/C to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills. You can buy and install relatively inexpensive weather stripping and caulking to seal these air leaks.
  3. Motion sensor lights outside are a perfect way to keep lights turned off when they’re not be used, but still provide your house with security.
  4. The market for energy saving lights has exploded over the last decade, it’s almost overwhelming. If you are looking for the best energy saving light, CompactFluorescent Lamps, or CFL’s, is leading the energy efficient light revolution. CFL’s use 25% the energy required to light up an incandescent light bulb, and can produce more light.
  5. Tuning up your furnace yearly by replacing filters can insure your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. Cleaner filters increase airflow, and reduces how hard your furnace works. This can add years of life to your heat pump!
  6. Here are energy saving tips that pay for themselves in 2 to 5 years:
  7. Attic insulation has come a long way from earlier construction practices. New homes require an R-38 attic insulation which insures that your attic is stays at a reasonably cool temperature, even during summer months. The benefits are numerous, primarily because most of the time your mechanical systems run through the attic. The hotter your attic, the harder your A/C works during the summer (especially in Phoenix). This can save you hundreds of dollars alone in the summer months.
  8. An often overlooked place to add insulation are unheated spaces such as crawl spaces, garages, or patio coverings. Adding R-19 insulation to these spaces can have huge saves on your energy bills over time.
  9. Installing an inexpensive glass door or flue-top damper to your fireplace can help prevent a possible air leak in your home.

For the bold and daring, these are some big ticket items that can have huge savings, but may take  more than 5 years to pay for themselves.

  1. Replacing outdated appliances can create substantial savings. Your fridge alone can eat up as much as 15% of your energy bill. Energy efficient models, such as those that are Energy Star Partners, may initially cost more, but the savings will be worth it.
  2. Add insulated window coverings where needed (R-3 insulation) or blinds, drapes, or other durable window coverings.
  3. Replacing your furnace, heat pumps, air conditions, and water heats with energy efficient models can have overwhelmingly positive effects on your energy bills. You can even install a solar water heater.
  4. Installing solar panels make sense in a city like Phoenix where there’s never a shortage of sun. You can even get kickbacks from energy companies if you acquire more energy than you use!
  5. Look for products with the Energy Star logo, this is a good indication of products that support energy savings.