Autumn is just around the corner and, for Texans, this is when we arrive at blissfully cooler temperatures and a host of time-honored autumn traditions. Fall means shorter days, changing weather, and changing leaves, so what better time for a few energy-saving changes around the house to accompany the changes going on outside of our front doors?
1) Change Your Light Bulbs
Sure, the eco-conscious harp on this energy-efficient suggestion frequently, but with the new restrictions on incandescent bulbs in effect, you have little recourse but to give in to the mania.
With that in mind, let me try to convert you – specifically towards using LED bulbs. True, bulb-for-bulb, they are dramatically more expensive than their CFL counterparts, but they last up to 6 times longer than CFL bulbs, contain no toxic mercury vapor, and use half of the energy. And all of that translates into long-term energy savings. If you’re like us, the $25 price tag per bulb (60w equivalent) seems a bit steep, so opt to buy 1-2 bulbs per month and make the gradual switch to greener lighting.
2) Use Wall Timers
As the days become shorter, more and more folks leave lights on during the day for security and convenience in anticipation for a return after nightfall. A great green way to give yourself some peace of mind is to use outlet and wall switch timers. Timers not only help give the impression that you’re home while you’re not, they will also help to reduce your energy usage.
For those of you diving headfirst into the “Smart Home” craze, plenty of options are available for remotely lighting your home and monitoring your security without leaving your front porch light on at three o’clock in the afternoon.
3) Reduce Use of Your HVAC System
The thermostat is another frequently mentioned tip that can’t be overstated. As the summer heat fades and the days get a little cooler, give your heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system a break by dialing back the arctic air necessary to make summertime survivable in the Lone Star State. As the temperatures continue to drop later in the season, switch your furnace off and opt for cozy clothes, a tasty mug of hot apple cider, and a nice thick duvet for hanging around the house in the evening.
4) Get a Home Energy Audit
Lastly, prepare your home for winter. In addition to standard home winterizing efforts (which we’ll discuss further as we approach that season), consider having a home energy audit. An hour or so spent with a professional can translate into energy savings for years to come.
With our spectacular autumns and exquisitely mild winters here in Texas, it’s easy to forget that we can make a difference for Mother Earth (and our wallets) as the summer heat fades into distant memory. With a few simple changes, you can save some of your hard-earned cash while doing some great things for the environment.