Is your home consuming energy like it’s stuffing its face at a Thanksgiving dinner? These days, most Alexandria, VA, homeowners are aware that cutting down on energy consumption is the goal of an energy efficient home. While you may have switched over to CFL bulbs or are already turning your thermostat down a few extra degrees, there’s always room for improvement. When you are ready to do more, here’s a list of easy and simple changes that you can make to further reduce your home’s carbon footprint:

1. Take On a Roommate

Single-person households have grown tremendously in the last five decades. According to a study by SMR Research, single-person households use 18.4 percent more energy than two-person households, and over 50 percent more than a household with three people. If you live alone, you can reduce your home carbon footprint dramatically and increase your energy efficiency by sharing with a roommate.

2. Monitor Your Energy Use

Do you have any idea how much that old fridge in your garage is costing you in energy every year? Purchase an energy monitoring device to discover how much energy your home appliances are guzzling each month. If you determine that your old fridge is costing you $20 per month to operate, you might be better off replacing it with a newer EnergyStar appliance, or to donate it to charity.

3. Rediscover Your Clothes Line

Reducing your dependence on your clothes dryer, especially during warmer months, can save you money monthly, while also keeping hundreds of pounds of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. When it’s warm out, hang your clothes outside; when it’s cool, try your basement or garage. If you can’t give up your clothes dryer, make sure you are using an EnergyStar energy-efficient model, and never run your dryer for just a few clothes items.

4. Choose Smaller Appliances

The average refrigerator in Europe is half the size of models in the U.S. On top of that, 26 percent of households have more than one refrigerator. Often, the second refrigerator is over 15 years old, meaning that it’s energy-inefficient. Since your refrigerator is responsible for about 20 percent of your monthly utility bill, switching to a smaller, Energy-Star rated model can help you minimize your home’s carbon footprint.

5. Decrease Home Energy Use

Here are some easy ways to reduce your home energy use and make your home more energy efficient:

  • Insulate and seal your home. Caulk, insulate and weather-strip to reduce drafts and air leaks.
  • Appliances. When choosing new appliances such as air conditioning units, furnaces, refrigerators and dishwashers, make energy efficiency a prime consideration.
  • Lighting. Turn off lights off when you leave a room. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lighting.
  • Thermostat. Set your thermostat at a moderate level. Invest in a programmable model to turn off your heating or air conditioning when you’re not home.
  • Solar. Add solar panels to your roof. While this option may seem expensive at first, the savings in the long run will be worthwhile.

For more information about how to increase your home’s energy efficiency, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint, contact Commonwealth Cooling and Heating for a home energy assessment.