Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

5 No-Cost Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

5 No-Cost Ways to Save Energy in Your Home


Photo courtesy of ShutterstoHeating costs this winter will be higher than last year for more than 90 percent of the 116 million U.S. homes, mainly because of higher projected prices for residential natural gas, propane and electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook

Heating a home also increases its carbon footprint exponentially. The average home emits twice the amount of carbon dioxide as a vehicle.

So save some bucks—and reduce your carbon footprint—by making your house more energy efficient. Here are five no-cost ways: 

1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs, says the Consumer Energy Center. Use your programmable thermostat to lower the temperature at night or when leaving home for an extended time. Programming the thermostat to turn the temperature down 8 degrees for seven hours each night and an additional seven hours each weekday could result in a seasonal heating savings of about 12 percent.

2. Inspect the filters of your forced-air furnace. This should be done at the beginning of the heating season and monthly during the season. Clean or replace the filter if significant dust has built up, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

 3. Hang blankets over your windows. Heavy coverings will eliminate drafts and are easy to install, says the Family Handyman. One woman claims to have cut her electric bill by 10 percent one winter.

4. Place rolled blankets or towels against drafty doors or windows. This will slow or nearly halt the draft until you can install a more permanent solution such as weather-stripping, says SFGate

5. Close your fireplace damper. All the energy-saving efforts in the world are for naught if you're sending heat up your chimney when you're not using your fireplace, notes Greening Neighborhoods.


Plastic bails, left, and aluminum bails, right, are photographed at the Green Waste material recovery facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in San Jose, California. Aric Crabb / Digital First Media / Bay Area News via Getty Images

By Courtney Lindwall

Coined in the 1970s, the classic Earth Day mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has encouraged consumers to take stock of the materials they buy, use, and often quickly pitch — all in the name of curbing pollution and saving the earth's resources. Most of us listened, or lord knows we tried. We've carried totes and refused straws and dutifully rinsed yogurt cartons before placing them in the appropriately marked bins. And yet, nearly half a century later, the United States still produces more than 35 million tons of plastic annually, and sends more and more of it into our oceans, lakes, soils, and bodies.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less