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Live Green with Encino Man

Here are a few ideas for going green to help the environment and save you money.

  1. Sealing cooling and heating ducts

    with duct wrap or mastic sealant can save up to 25% on your energy bill.
  2. Repair plumbing leaks.

    A single drippy faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. Set sprinkler timers to come on late eve or early morning to avoid evaporation on hot days.
  3. Insulating your hot water heater.

    Doing so can cut your home's CO2 emissions and save you around 4% to 9% in water heating costs. You also reduce standby heat costs by 25%-45%.
  4. Replace shower heads with low-flow heads and replace faucets or just the aerators.

    Low-flow shower heads can save you between 10% to 16% of water heating costs and reduce your water usage by 20,000 gallons per year.
  5. Install low flow toilets.

    This will save you 3.5 gallons per flush.
  6. Install ceiling fans.

    This will cut air conditioning costs by 40% in summer. Alternatively, in the winter, these ceiling fans work to circulate warm air from the ceiling back down to the floor to save heating cost.
  7. Weather proof your house.

    Use low VOC caulk and foam strips around windows and door frames that leak air. Add door sweeps and door shoe gaskets. A 1/8" space around your door is like having a brick size hole in your wall. Imagine one of these for every door in the house! Did you know that your light switches can be an overlooked source of air leaks? Hold a wet hand in front of a light switch plate or outlet and if you feel air, you have a leak. Installing foam gaskets behind all the light switches and outlets can stop these energy leaks.
  8. Insulate.

    For maximum energy efficiency, your home should be properly insulated from the roof down to its foundations.
  9. Install a hot water heater timer

    if you have an electric water heater which can turn hot water off at night and on again in the morning.
  10. Replace your light bulbs.

    Energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs last 8 to 12 times longer than incandescent. Just one bulb alone can save at least $30 in electric bills over its life span and reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants. Just 5 bulbs could save you 50% of your annual lighting bill.
  11. Replace old windows

    with new high performance dual pane windows with low-e coatings. Or self-adhesive reflective film on the windows. These films reduce air conditioning bills. In addition, reflective film can eliminate interior upholstery fading by blocking harmful UV rays.
  12. Insulating your hot water pipes.

    Not only does this raise the temperature with a lower water temperature setting, you also conserve water since you don’t have to wait as long for warm water whenever you turn on a faucet or a shower! Or install a hot water re circulating pump and get almost instant hot water every time you take a shower.
  13. Install outdoor solar lighting.

    It's easy to install and virtually maintenance free. Best of all, it provides free electricity.
  14. Install shades, drapes, awnings or sunscreens

    to block light on hot sunny days and keep cooling costs down. In colder times, closing these drapes can retain warm air. This may seem like an old-fashioned and low tech, but it's surprisingly effective and time-tested tactic.
  15. Add lighting controls and timers.

    Motion detectors outside can increase security and decrease energy expenditure. Timers can be set to turn lights off and on and predetermined times. This is an easy energy saver.
  16. Install an Attic or Whole House Fan.

        Save energy cooling your house taking the hot air out.


In many cases, you will save more on your energy bill by making these changes than you will spend on making them!

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, households can save 20%-30% on energy bills by implementing these improvements.

Stats provided by U.S. Dept of Energy


Last Updated: June 1, 2008