Turning down the thermostat and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs are easy but common ways to make your home greener. Here are a few additional greening tips and tricks that may have never crossed your mind.
Over the top. A refrigerator with a freezer on top uses 10 percent to 25 percent less energy than one with a side-by-side or bottom-mounted freezer.
Power up. Plug appliances and electronics into a power strip rather than an outlet. Devices plugged directly into the wall leak up to 15 watts of electricity even if they’re shut off.
Dish it out. Hand-washing dishes might seem better for Mother Earth than using the dishwasher, but it’s actually more wasteful. You’ll use up to 35 percent less water by filling up the dishwasher with dishes that aren’t pre-rinsed instead of washing by hand. You can also conserve energy by skipping the dry cycle — just open the dishwasher’s door when the cycle is done to air dry.
Don’t tank. Invest in a tankless water heater that will heat water instantly on an as-needed basis, instead of one that must constantly keep your water warm. They can be expensive—prices range from just under $200 to more than $1,000—but it will help reduce energy costs in the long run and reduce water loss. Don’t want to buy one? Be sure to insulate your pipes for a good reduction in heat loss.