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Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

If you’ve been considering giving your apartment a makeover but are hesitant to spend hundreds of dollars to do so, I’ve got some news that may convince you to make the investment: upgrading your apartment to become more energy efficient can save you hundreds of dollars each year. So even though an apartment makeover sounds expensive, the amount of money you will save on your utility bills (not to mention the feel-good points of doing something good for the environment), makes the investment worth your while.

Whether you plan on making some extensive changes to your apartment or are looking to do something smaller to cut your energy consumption, here are four ways to make your home more energy efficient (in order of price of investment):

1. Invest in a Power Strip

If you will be away from your apartment for more than a day, you should unplug all of your appliances and electronics. Your computer, TV, DVD-player and other everyday electronics account for about 40 percent of your electricity usage even when you are not using them. A simple solution? Purchase a power strip and plug all of your electronics (other than your refrigerator and alarm clock) into the strip. This way, when you leave your apartment, you can turn off the power strip to save electricity.

2. Change your Light Bulbs

While Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) cost almost twice as much as incandescent lightbulbs, they also use 75 percent less energy and last ten times longer. This means that while you will initially pay more, you can save as much as $30 per yer per bulb on your electric bill making these new bulbs an investment well worth your money.

3. Upgrade your Appliances

If you’ve had your old microwave since college, here’s the perfect excuse to upgrade to a new one: new Energy Star appliances are not only energy efficient but can decrease energy use by as much as 30 percent (that’s almost $600 for an average American family)! In fact, in 2006, Energy star products saved America $14 billion. Some appliances might even qualify for Federal Tax Credits.

4. Upgrade your Windows (if your landlord will allow it)

Small leaks in your windows can cause you to spend significantly more on heat/air conditioning than you should especially when it is windy outside. For renters, upgrading your windows to more energy efficient ones is a little more difficult because most leases don’t allow you to make cosmetic changes to your apartment without your landlord’s permission. If your landlord says no, ask them to caulk, spray foam or weather strip your windows to better insulate your apartment.

KathyD is a guest blogger.  In exchange for sharing this content, GoodHandsCommunity.org has compensated her via cash payment. 

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