Home Energy Efficiency Tips to Cut Costs and Your Carbon Footprint

8/27/20194 years ago

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Did you catch Boston 25’s segment “Saving Green at Home: Tips to Cut Costs and Your Carbon Footprint”? Meghan Shaw, Outreach Director for the Cambridge Energy Alliance, describes simple steps that renters, homeowners, and landlords can take to make their homes more energy efficient and save money.

Below, we’ve provided more details about how these steps save energy in your home and how you can access energy-saving resources.

If you’re a Cambridge resident or landlord, visit the Cambridge Energy Alliance website and learn about the City programs that can connect you with no-cost energy assessments, no-cost solar assessments, and more.

Simple Steps for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Air Seal and Insulate Your Home

The draftiness you feel in the winter can be significantly reduced or eliminated through air-sealing, which keeps heat inside during winter months and the cool air inside during summer months. You can also insulate your home to make heating and cooling even more cost effective and efficient.

Get a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats keep your home comfortable as efficiently as possible. A smart thermostat learns your schedule and begins heating or cooling your home shortly before you return. This cuts down on unnecessary heating and cooling throughout the day and maintains comfort for you and your family. If you prefer not to have a set schedule, you can adjust your heat or AC manually or you can change your settings while you're away from home through an app. In addition to saving energy, smart thermostats help reduce your heating and cooling bills. Programmable thermostats are also a great option, though smart thermostats tend to require less effort from users.

  • Mass Save provides discounts on smart thermostats and will install them for free with a home energy assessment 

Save Water through Aerators, Shower Fixtures, and Daily Habits

Decreasing the amount of water used by your household can greatly decrease your impact on the climate, as cleaning water at the water treatment plant is energy intensive. Simple ways to decrease your water consumption include:

  • Getting a faucet aerator and water-saving shower head. These have high pressure water streams, but reduce the amount of water coming out of your tap.
  • Waiting to run your dishwasher until its full
  • Washing your clothes with cold water
  • Collecting rain water in barrels and using it to water your plants

Invest in High Efficiency Heating/ Cooling Systems and Appliances

In order to meet climate change mitigation goals, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable electricity for heating our homes. Make a longterm plan to invest in electric heating and cooling systems, like buying a heat pump. To make sure you’re getting the most energy efficiency and the best rebate, look for appliances with an “Energy Star” label.

Consider Solar Energy

Investing in solar is the best way to decrease your household’s dependency on fossil fuels and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Solar energy also provides substantial long-term energy savings.

  • Cambridge residents can use Mapdwell to determine their solar potential 
  • The City's Sunny Cambridge program can connect property owners with solar assessments and other resources.

Use Blackout Shades, Insulated Curtains, and Fans

Blackout shades can help keep your home warmer or cooler year-round. In the summer, pulling down blackout shades block the sun’s rays and keep them from heating up rooms through windows. In the winter, pulling up the shades and allowing the sun in can provide additional warmth. Insulated curtains are also an inexpensive way to prevent drafts in the winter.

Ceiling fans circulate air to keep rooms cool during warm months. In the winter, switching the rotation of the fans pushes down and distributes warm air that has gathered near the ceiling. Using fans are great money-saving and energy efficiency alternatives to turning up the heat or AC in your home – just remember to turn fans off when you’re not home to enjoy the breeze!

Switch to LED lighting

Swap out your CFL or incandescent lightbulbs for energy efficient LEDs, which last for over a decade and are available in a variety of colors, brightness, and dimming options.LED bulbs can be bought through Mass Save or at your local hardware store and are provided for no-cost with a home energy assessment. 

For More Information

Learn about energy efficiency programs for renters, homeowners, landlords, and property managers in Cambridge at: CambridgeEnergyAlliance.org