When deciding on whether to buy an older home or have a new home custom built, it is important to consider the benefits of how much more energy-efficient new construction can be. Keystone Homes builds all of our Augusta new homes with Energy Star rated windows and appliances, tight construction, energy-efficient air conditioning units and low-flow shower heads. All of these practices help to reduce energy costs, but there are still many other changes that you as a homeowner can implement to reduce costs even further:
1. Turn off the lights and unplug chargers – Both of these appear to be simple, but you would be surprised at how much money they can save you long-term. Remember to always turn off the lights when you leave a room, turn off all electronics and unplug anything not in use. A laser printer that is left on standby when not in use can use 60 kilowatts in one year! The easiest way to make sure nothing uses “ghost power” is to plug everything into power strips that will allow you to turn all of your electronics off at once. As an added bonus, you will reduce the risk of electrical fires.
2. Adjust your thermostat – In the summer, raising your thermostat to 77 degrees or 78 degrees, and then lowering it to what you can stand in the winter will help to save money. If your home is equipped with a programmable thermostat, make sure to set it to different temperatures when your home is unoccupied, and then adjust it to a more comfortable temperature when people are home.
3. Dial down the water heater temp – Some water heaters are set as high as 140 degrees, which costs more money and even poses a risk of scalding. You can save money and still enjoy hot water with a temperature set at just 120 degrees.
4. Landscape for your climate – It is important to make sure you use plants that are designed for your native zone in your yard, since they will be more likely to survive on the rainfall your area receives every year, and won’t need as much additional watering and care. It is also good to save money and get exercise by using a manual push reel mower if your yard is less than a quarter acre.
5. Go to a carwash – Washing the car at home might be a great chore for the kids, but they can quickly run water bill sky-high. Washing a car in your driveway also carries waste water with detergents and chemical residue from your vehicles into the local waterways. Carwashes are better for the environment because they are able to re-use water and capture detergents. Helping to save the environment and money is a double bonus!
At Keystone Homes, we pride ourselves on constructing well-built homes that are both environmentally and people-friendly by using the best products available. For more information about our green-building methods in our communities, visit our website.