Homeowners who would like to save money around the house and businesses that need to improve their company’s bottom line can begin this process by making small changes. Getting everyone in your household or office involved in making these small changes can very quickly add up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars in yearly savings. Of course, these changes always should be consistent with green practices; fortunately, many money saving tips are (by their very essence) positive for the environment.
Some of the biggest culprits of money and energy waste are the electrical systems and equipment we use on a daily basis. Naturally, our homes and offices wouldn’t be the same without advances in comfort and technology, such as central air conditioning, computers, and fax machines. However, there is truly no reason to leave this equipment running when it is not in use. Our first step to saving money and going green in the Century 21 office is to encourage employees to turn off all computers, lamps, lights, and monitors when they leave for the evening. Allowing these systems to stay on all night is essentially pointless and wasteful.
In addition to turning off lamps and lights in and around your home or office, it is important to examine that light bulb which is in use. Low voltage CFLs (compact fluorescents) use 1/10th the electricity and last for approximately five years. You will save double (on energy costs and replacement costs) simply by switching to these from conventional lightbulbs. Encourage use of CFLs in your home and office, and see what a difference this makes.
Another small change that equals big savings is monitoring your HVAC unit. For the truly frugal home or business owner, many green companies recommend heating and cooling caps. For example, 78 degrees is the coolest your air conditioner should run during the summer, and 68 degrees is the warmest your heater should be during the winter. For some homeowners and businesses, this is not the most feasible or desirable option; but they can still make changes that cut down on utility costs. For those with the option, installing programmable thermostats on all HVAC units is an easy way to monitor energy usage. I am proposing this idea to our office; the programmable thermostat would change the temperature to 77 degrees from 7:30 at night to 7:30 in the morning (the 12 hours where there are very few to no people still working in the building). There would, of course, be a temporary bypass adjustment. But it would always revert to the program after an hour or so. If you do not wish to install a system, it is easy enough to get in the habit of simply changing the temperature yourself at night. Try this one small change and see the difference reflected in your utility bill next month!
A second big way to cut down on your air conditioning costs, without spending very much money, is to install solar film on west facing rooms or offices. (A business, such as Century 21, could potentially find a connection partner to do it for free for advertising.) This solar film will not cause any aesthetic changes, but will reflect heat out in the afternoons and keep people from turning the AC down as much.
In addition to the AC unit, there are other sources of energy usage around your home or office that generally are not being used for a large portion of the time they are powered up. Take for instance, the water heater in our breakroom. It is heating water all night long that simply is not needed. Again, a system could be installed that would automatically shut it off at 7:00 p.m. and turn it back on at 7:00 a.m. Or, the savvy home or business owner could do this at their own discretion and chosen time.
One more change that would achieve big results is switching the toilets to low flow, assisted flush technology. These systems use 1/3 the water but have a powerful flush that actually works better than conventional systems. This is an especially important change for businesses, as these are constantly in use.
Additional tips for the savvy College Station homeowner:
Additional tips for the frugal, green College Station business:
At Century 21, Susan Hilton and I have a few additional changes we are proposing for our office; perhaps you would like to consider the following:
Saving money and going green are two very intertwined ideas that can greatly benefit your home, office, and the environment. If you would like additional information on the ways you can cut costs around your home or office, or if you would like advice on how to green your College Station or Bryan home for maximum benefit, call me anytime.