Owning a home in Massachusetts, while often rewarding, can also be expensive. After a homeowner has paid off their monthly mortgage, and property taxes, the third-largest expense is often utilities.
Going green and creating an eco-friendly home can be as good for your wallet as it is for the environment. It’s useful to know which eco-friendly improvements promise the best return on investment so you can live more, worry less, and save more. From choosing furniture that lasts to installing energy-efficient lighting, Cushman Insurance has put together a guide highlighting eight ways to create a greener, more budget-friendly home.
Install a Low-Flow Showerhead
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American home uses 88 gallons of water a day - that’s 32,120 gallons per year! By replacing your outdated showerhead with an eco-friendlier option, you can cut your water usage and quarterly statement by 50%. Mother Earth will thank you for not wasting water!
Purchase LED Light Bulbs
Did you know the average home uses 40 light bulbs? Instead of using incandescent light bulbs, upgrade to LED light bulbs! LEDs are natural light upgrades and, on average, use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. With a variety of options in shape, size, and color, LEDs can fit on nearly every light source - from lamps to recessed lighting and even decorative chandeliers. Our pro tip? Look for the ENERGYSTAR logo to help identify the most effective products.
Keep An Eye on Your Thermostat
Smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee make it easier to control your home’s climate from anywhere. With features like auto-adjusted temperatures and reminders to change your filters, smart thermostats can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 20% - equal to $180 a year for the typical U.S. home.
Invest in Solar Panels
Home solar panels use the sun to power your electricity and can greatly reduce your electric bill. With the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, Massachusetts allows a 15% credit - up to $1,000 - against the state income tax for the net expenditure* of a renewable energy system installed on an individual’s primary residence. The initial cost to install solar panels is an investment and is typically paid off in 7 - 8 years in electricity savings alone.
*The term “net expenditure” is defined as the total purchase price for any renewable energy source property and installation.
Seal & Insulate
Sealing gaps and cracks in the home is an inexpensive way to decrease your environmental footprint and save money. By adding caulk around windows and doors, adding weather strips around doors, and adding insulation in the attic, you can save up to $200 a year on heating and cooling costs.
Unplug Unused Chargers
Cell phone and battery chargers that are plugged in but not being used are often referred to as “energy vampires”. According to Energy.gov, the average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use and 2.24 watts when connected to your phone. While one charge won’t make a huge impact, having multiple chargers plugged in but not in use can be responsible for 10% of your energy bill.
Perform an Energy Audit
Consider hiring a professional energy auditor for your home so that they can evaluate the inefficiencies and wasted energy within your home. A certified, and trained, auditor will inspect in and around your home to pinpoint saving opportunities and identify areas that need improvements.
Stop Using Dryer Sheets
One small way to save money, and reduce your carbon footprint, is to stop using dryer sheets. They may make your freshly cleaned clothes smell great but they’re bad for the environment, your clothes, and even your health. The best alternative is a dryer ball, a little wool ball that can be used for thousands of loads, doesn’t come crammed with chemicals, and reduce lint. This six-pack of eco-friendly dryer balls will last a long time, save you money, and help the planet.
When you’ve conquered the tips we’ve provided, or are looking for more cost-effective ways to save money as a homeowner and to help the environment, there are many other changes you can make to your home and lifestyle that can help preserve the planet.
Your friends at Cushman Insurance have partnered with many of the top insurance carriers to give you access to the best insurance options for your home. Contact your local independent Cushman Insurance agent today to learn more about how you can live more, worry less, and save more.