Saving the planet and your bank account - East Valley Tribune: Living Green

Saving the planet and your bank account

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Posted: Monday, July 26, 2010 1:00 pm

OK, so we all want to go green and save the planet. However, we are also all pinching pennies to make ends meet. And we all want homes that are comfortable and beautiful. So how can we save the planet, save money and live comfortably all at the same time? Here are a few suggestions.

It is a good idea to keep heating and air-conditioner filters clean. Replacing the fiberglass filters with reusable, washable ones is a great idea because it will save you money and save the planet.

There are programmable thermostats that let you set temperatures for different times of the day so when you're out and don't need the house to be so cool (or so warm in winter), the temperature automatically changes and you will save on electricity. The timer is set so the temperature will go back to your comfort level before you come back home.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in colder months, turning the heat down from 72 degrees to 65 F for at least eight hours a day can reduce your heating costs by up to 10 percent. Speaking of thermostats, try not to place lamps or large appliances near a thermostat, as they put out heat and will make the air conditioner run longer than necessary.

Do you still have an air conditioner placed in your window somewhere in the house? Removing those units in the fall is an excellent idea because they invite drafts into the house. If that is not possible, then use an insulated jacket on the exterior part of the air conditioner.

Replacing conventional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones is a smart idea. Though the compact fluorescent bulbs cost more initially, they last up to 10 times longer, use two-thirds less energy and give off 70 percent less heat. Oh, and don't forget what Mom taught you as a kid: Turn the light off whenever you leave a room.

We all know that much of our heating and cooling energy is lost through windows. A highly insulated shade could help solve that problem. Duette honeycomb shades, particularly those made by Hunter Douglas, are made specifically for saving energy, and they are attractive as well. For those trying to save money, there is a tax credit you can get for using Hunter Douglas shades.

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