One of the bigger topics of discussion this year and since the start of the pandemic has been inflation.
Specifically this year, we’ve really seen the impact of inflation on everyday goods with things we buy at the grocery store as well as at places restaurants, hardware, and home goods stores.
Also with the conflict in Ukraine, we’ve seen gas prices skyrocket often costing upwards of four dollars or more a gallon. With rising gas prices and inflation, consumers have been forced to find areas to save money where they can in order to make ends meet.
This month, for Earth Month, we wanted to focus on ways that we can all cut energy costs. Cutting energy costs can not only save you a few bucks each month, but it can also help our environment. If we all pitch in to cut energy usage, it can make a difference to help our planet. Here are some easy ways you can reduce your energy usage in your home.
Unplug Your Devices
Simply put, when devices are plugged in they use less energy. We suggest unplugging things like TVs and other electronic devices when not in use. You can also consider plugging them into a power strip you can switch off.
Replacing a top-loading washing machine with a front-loader generally uses 50 percent less energy and a third less water. With those savings, the new machine will pay for itself in six years and should last for ten, according to Real Simple.
Upgrade Your Windows
The right windows should have the ability to trap cool air during the summer and hot air in your home during the winter months. 25-30% of your home’s heating and cooling costs are due to heat gain and loss through your windows.
Sealing gaps around doors and windows can make your home more comfortable in extreme temperatures and save you 10-15% of your energy costs. When choosing your weatherstripping, check to ensure that it can withstand the friction, precipitation, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated. Ask for assistance in your home improvement store if you’re not sure what you need.
Did you know about 90 percent of American homes are under-insulated? Having proper insulation is crucial to keeping the temperature comfortable and your energy bills low. We can connect you with folks who can make sure your home’s insulation is up to par.
Smart devices such as Nest, are becoming more and more popular and are great energy savers. These smart devices adapt to your routine and automatically lower your home’s temperature when the house is empty. You can also program your heat/AC to come on at certain times of the day to save money.
The Benefits of Planting Trees
The Arbor Day Foundation cites countless benefits of tree planting. For instance, the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours daily. Trees can make a big difference in our notorious hot summers. If you were to plant a tree on the west side of your home today, your energy savings down the line could reach up to 12%.
As an added bonus for homeowners, trees can also increase the value of your home by 15% or more. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers estimates that a mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000. One study found that homeowners get a 100% (or more!) return on the money they put into thoughtful landscaping. We’ve seen this firsthand especially as today’s buyers put an emphasis on having nice, clean outdoor spaces.
Keep in mind that the City of Alexandria offers a Street Tree Replanting program. If a City-owned tree is removed from the area in front of your home, the city will replant that tree at no cost to you. All you have to do is commit to regular watering and caring for the tree during its first few years. Call the city at (703) 746-5496 for more information on this program.
It doesn’t take much to cut your energy costs and save a few bucks while also helping out our planet. Let’s all make an effort to commit to doing some of the things we mentioned above this year. If you’re unsure of how energy efficient your home may be, you can reach out to Dominion (if you’re a Dominion customer) for a full energy audit.
If you have other questions about landscaping or ways to reduce your energy usage, please reach out today by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or giving me a call at (703) 362-3221.