Here are 10 upgrades to consider:
This small measure can save 10 to 15 percent on your bills and is eco-friendly, since you won’t be heating or cooling your home when you’re gone or not using certain floors.
LED light bulbs
Lighting accounts for about 12 percent of home energy costs, so switch to CFL or LED bulbs, which can last for 10 years or 25 percent longer than a traditional bulb.
If you don’t have the budget for energy-efficient windows, there are less expensive options. Add storm windows as a low-cost alternative, and stop the air leaks with weather stripping and caulking. Air leakage can add 30 percent to heating and cooling costs.
Water heater tips
Beyond switching to an Energy Star model or tankless water heater, installing an insulating jacket around the tank can eliminate up to 40 percent of heat loss. Turn down the water heater to 120 degrees for extra savings.
Save on drinking water
Invest $30 in a water-filtering pitcher or faucet attachment to save hundreds yearly on bottled water, and keep plastic out of the landfills.
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling account for nearly half of home energy usage. Tune your HVAC system yearly, change filters monthly and seal ducts and air vents, which can improve efficiency by 20 percent and more.
New insulation that is right for your climate will offer a return on your investment over time, as you could be losing up to 20 percent of your heated or cooled air.
Low VOC paint
Paint is inexpensive, so next time opt for low VOC (volatile organic compounds) options that don’t contain chemicals that contribute to air pollution and respiratory problems.
Watch how you clean
Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is easy, and eliminate paper towels by using cloth towels. If you’re ambitious, replace toxic cleaning solutions with natural alternatives like lemons, vinegar and baking soda.
The main source of water use in a home, a toilet accounts for nearly 30 percent of residential water consumption. A high-efficiency toilet can save $2,000 over its lifetime and could save nearly 2 billion gallons per day across the country.