Earth Day is April 22nd, and it’s a good reminder for us all to be greener to help our planet. But did you know that going green can also help you save money? Let’s take a look at three easy ways you can help the planet while hopefully saving some cash at the same time:
1.) Be more energy efficient.
It may surprise you how easy it is to save money and reduce your energy usage just by changing a few habits. One easy way to learn how to improve your home’s energy efficiency is by signing up for a free in-home or virtual home energy assessment. Mass Save offers free energy assessments to Massachusetts homeowners, and Rhode Island homeowners can schedule one free-of-charge through RI Energy. Not only will the assessors provide you with tips to lower your energy consumption and bills, but you may find that you also qualify for no-interest financing for home energy upgrades.
Here are some other ways to potentially lower your energy bills:
- Turn your lights off. When you are no longer in a room, turn off the lights. Many people always leave a light on, but by simply turning them off when you leave the room, you will likely see an impact on your electric bill. If you don’t want to be in the dark when you enter a room or return home, you should consider using a light timer. You can set a timer to turn the lights on and off for you at specified times when you know you won’t be in the room. There are also smart light bulbs that you can control from your phone, allowing you to turn the lights on when you are close to home.
- Switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs. LED lights use less energy and last longer over time compared to regular bulbs. Most light bulbs needed for a variety of items in your home are now available in LED options.
- Schedule your thermostat. Similar to a light timer, you can also put your heating or cooling system on a timed schedule through your thermostat, so it adjusts the temperature when you’re away from home or sleeping. Adjusting the temperature in your home by just a few degrees can result in significantly less energy being used.
- Make energy-efficient updates. You can make energy-efficient changes in your home such as replacing old, drafty windows with more efficient ones or upgrading your heating system to a more efficient and cost-effective model. There are also many ways to reduce your energy usage in the summer. Many states have partnerships with lenders, such as BankFive, to offer energy efficiency loans. Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s programs offer no-interest loans for qualifying upgrades as an incentive to make your home more energy efficient, and ultimately save you money. Upgrades may include insulation, heating systems, central AC, heat pumps and more.
2.) Forgo the paper.
It may surprise you to know that most banks now charge you to receive a paper statement in the mail. This is usually done in an effort to encourage customers to switch to electronic statements. Not only is switching to eStatements a great way to save paper, but it helps cut down on the energy needed to print the statements as well.
And it’s not just banks that are looking to transition more customers away from paper. In some cases, you can even secure discounts on services simply for switching to paperless billing. Many insurance companies, utility providers, and cell phone companies offer such discounts.
3.) Reduce waste.
Think about how many items you throw away on a regular basis. Instead of using a single-use item and rebuying it the next time you need it, consider making a one-time purchase on a reusable option. Not only does this effort reduce waste, but it can save you money in the long run.
Reusable items you might consider purchasing include:
- Water bottles and straws
- Food containers
- Shopping bags
- Coffee pods
- Dryer sheets
Shopping at local retailers instead of online can also help you reduce your carbon footprint in a variety of ways. It eliminates the packaging required to ship items and helps prevent pollution from delivery transportation. Buying local can also save you money by eliminating the need to pay shipping and handling fees.
You can make great strides in reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency, and saving money when you are more educated on the available options. As we approach Earth Day, consider the different ways that you can help protect the planet for years to come!