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Green Tips: Going Green on a Budget

Green Tips | October 26, 2019

Going green doesn’t require a big budget or a lot of expensive products. There are small ways you can help the environment by conserving energy and consuming less water. Here are some green tips for a small budget!

Conserving Energy

Smart Thermostats

According to Energy Star, half of Americans’ annual energy bill goes to heating and cooling, which can cost over $900/year. Heating and cooling account for up to 57% of a New Yorker’s energy use, higher than the U.S. average of 47%. 

Being smart about how you control your temperature helps save money and conserve energy. A smart thermostat can help.

Smart thermostats are wifi connected devices that automatically adjust heating and cooling temperatures for the most energy-efficient performance. They also allow owners to program temperature settings based on their schedules while taking weather conditions into account. 

According to a 2010 study, 89% of regular thermostat users never program their thermostats for a weekday or weekend program. When using a smart thermostat, the sensor on the device is able to detect human activity to activate the cooling and heating system while learning your shifting schedule. With the help of smart thermostats, you can save 10-23% on heating or cooling costs without worrying about programming your device.

Start your purchasing research with the Energy Star certified smart thermostats list.

Light Bulbs

LED bulbs are one of the most energy-efficient lighting technologies. They last longer and offer better light quality than other types of bulbs. These bulbs can be 6 to 7 times more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs and reduce 75% of your energy use. They can last more than 25,000 hours, almost 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. 

LED bulbs can also save money. Based on NRDC’s estimation, New Yorkers would save $100 each year per household if using LED bulbs. The electric bills will thus drop over $1 billion annually.

Start your purchasing research with the Energy Star certified LED light bulb list.

Conserving Water

Saving Water Indoors

Water plays an essential role in our lives and it’s important to conserve water when possible. You can read more about why water is so important in our previous Green Tip

Not only is water a vital environmental resource, but saving water can also save you money. New Yorkers use about 79 gallons of water every day at home. 

The largest use of household water is the toilet and the shower. The average U.S. family can waste 180 gallons of water per week simply from common leaks. You can check whether your toilet is leaking by adding food coloring into the tank. If the color shows in the bowl after an hour, your toilet is leaking. 

You can also save water by taking shorter showers and replacing the showerhead with a more efficient one, such as an EPA WaterSense product. Water-efficient showerheads can reduce the average American household’s electricity costs by $70 per year and save 2,700 gallons of water per year.

Another household appliance that consumes water is the dishwasher. By running the dishwasher only when it’s full, you can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save almost 320 gallons of water annually. Modern dishwashers are also more water-efficient than hand-washing dishes.

Saving Water Outdoors: A Smart Sprinkler 
In the United States, people use more than 9 billion gallons of water outdoors each day, mainly for landscape irrigation. However, almost 50% of that water is wasted due to inefficiency.   

If you have a lawn or a garden, take care of it with a smart sprinkler. These reduce water consumption and lower your water bill.

What makes these sprinklers smart? They can be connected to wifi and controlled by your smartphone anywhere, anytime. These systems can also learn your watering patterns and read current weather data, then water your lawn accordingly. Smart sprinklers are able to determine water evaporation from soil, and automatically schedule the watering time to keep water in the soil and prevent oversaturation. 

Another reason to use smart sprinklers is the money you can save on your water bill from less water use. Smart sprinklers cost between $100 to $280, but the money you save on your water bill will pay you back over time. 

You can also qualify for a rebate on your water bill through the EPA’s Watersense program. Find your rebate information here and check your product’s website to make sure the device is eligible for a rebate.

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