Modernize and update

Tips for making small and large equipment in your home more energy efficient

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Bronte Payne
Director, Go Solar Campaign

Author: Bronte Payne

Director, Go Solar Campaign

(617) 747-4327

Started on staff: 2015
B.A., cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Kalamazoo College

Bronte directs Environment America’s solar energy programs and campaigns. Bronte has worked on successful campaigns to renew federal tax incentives for wind and solar energy and to move Cornell University and Boston University toward 100 percent renewable energy. Bronte grew up in Michigan and now lives in Boston, where she enjoys reading, biking and practicing yoga.

My rented apartment in Boston features a lot of pretty old appliances. But even as a renter, I have found small ways to make energy-sucking elements in my home more efficient. Here are some tips for reducing your energy waste by leaning into modern technologies and increasingly efficient appliances.

Be smart about lighting

Changing your lightbulbs is one of the simplest ways you can increase your home’s energy efficiency. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are today’s most energy efficient lighting technology. These bulbs use up to 15 percent less energy than a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb and last an average of a year and a half longer. When compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs, LEDs save up to 80 percent more energy and last an average of two and a half years longer. You can find LED lights in a variety of light colors and qualities - so switching to these energy efficient bulbs is a really bright idea. 

Check your faucets and showerheads

In addition to being a total pain in the neck, leaky faucets and showerheads also waste energy. Repairing leaks in these fixtures can significantly reduce hot water use. There are a lot of helpful how-tos and other videos online that can assist you in repairing leaky faucets and showerheads. I am not a particularly handy person, and even I was able to follow along to fix a very leaky faucet in my tub. If you are looking to upgrade your faucets and showerheads, buying a more efficient model can also increase energy efficiency and reduce overall water use. 

When buying new appliances, choose energy efficiency-certified products

Refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens and other common household appliances have come a long way when it comes to efficiency. If you are considering replacing old appliances, try to replace them with the most energy efficient model when possible and make sure to recycle your old appliances correctly to minimize the environmental impacts during the replacement process. You can typically find resources for how to dispose of your appliance on your city’s website or by calling your local municipal recycling office. 

Beyond that, smart thermostats, smart power strips and smart lights can give you more control of your energy use. Smartphone apps can also help when you forget to turn your lights off, need to set your thermostat to a more efficient setting or desire to power down your TV. 

Go electric for heating and cooling your home 

Electric heat pumps are twice as energy efficient as a natural gas system. They also reduce your carbon footprint, reduce the risk of gas leaks, and don’t create dangerous air pollutants that come from gas and oil furnaces. And some states will offer rebates for you to switch over to a heat-pump too.

 

Photo: Rasstock via Shutterstock.com

Bronte Payne
Director, Go Solar Campaign

Author: Bronte Payne

Director, Go Solar Campaign

(617) 747-4327

Started on staff: 2015
B.A., cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Kalamazoo College

Bronte directs Environment America’s solar energy programs and campaigns. Bronte has worked on successful campaigns to renew federal tax incentives for wind and solar energy and to move Cornell University and Boston University toward 100 percent renewable energy. Bronte grew up in Michigan and now lives in Boston, where she enjoys reading, biking and practicing yoga.