Green DIY Projects: Save Energy while Saving Money

by ‐ Tags: alternative energy, water efficiency, green living

If you'd like to kill some time during your weekend while saving money and shrinking your carbon footprint, try a couple of these projects.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow for a much higher level of control over the heat and cooling energy expended in your home. Different temperatures can be programmed for different times of the day and custom schedules can be applied on separate days. With one of these installed, your heater and air conditioner won’t waste energy and money while you’re out of the house or alseep at night.

Programmable thermostats range from the very basic to smart models that are cloud connected, some with the ability to optimize energy savings by “learning” your habits. They range from $20 to $250. 


Ensure You Have an Airtight Home

A drafty home leaks money as well, so making sure your home is properly sealed is an important and a fairly simple process. If you feel drafts on a cold or windy day you already know, but there are other methods to determine if your doors and windows are leaky—see if you can feel the hot air from a hairdryer or hold a candle up to the suspicious area and look for signs of intruding atmosphere. There are a variety of solutions for sealing the leaks including spray foam, caulk and vinyl.

For a related sustainable solution, consider window insulation film.  


Solar Landscape Lighting 

The potential for wasted energy is high outside the home too, so instead of forsaking aesthetics and rejecting the idea of landscape lighting, check out the solar options. By implementing a combination of photovoltaic and LED technology, solar landscape lighting is very effective these days. Garden accent lights and pathway lights powered by the sun can run for a couple of nights on just a single day’s charge, and have the ability to charge in partial light and during the winter.

Utility lights, such as spotlights, can be solar powered as well. High quality LEDs can produce the equivalent of a 40 watt incandescent bulb.


Replace Your Classic Lawn with Groundcover

Another outdoor project is giving up on the idea of a traditional lawn and installing a far more sustainable groundcover option. Groundcover plants such as clover or ivy require less water than grass and spread out to cover an area, but do not grow to be very tall. This way, energy and money is saved because there is no need for mower fuel, pesticides and excessive water consumption.

Plus, you’ll save valuable time and money by never mowing the lawn again!


Get creative...

Here are a few more interesting options for the highly dedicated green DIY enthusiast. And don't forget, you can do even more by tracking and reducing your home's energy usage with WegoHome, a free online energy benchmarking tool.

Construct an electricity-free fridge.

Try your hand at window farming.

Build your own solar space heater.