Step 2: Additional Savings
Miscellaneous: There are many other ways to reduce the cost of the home and cut energy bills. Here are a few additional ideas:
• Heat with wood scraps from sawmills, cabinet shops and tree trimming companies. You can also use coppiced wood and pallets. No need to buy wood in most cases. And no need for an expensive wood stove. For about 10 years, we heated our old farmhouse in Colorado with an old $50 Ashley stove, and then sold it when we moved for $50.
• Using recycled materials can save you a small fortune, and add unique character to your home.
• Blown-in cellulose insulation has a higher insulation value per inch than fiberglass, and maintains a higher value due to less settling.
• Get free cost estimates if possible from lumber yards and then shop and compare prices – typically no one lumber yard has lower prices on everything.
• Only hire contractors who come highly recommended by those you know and trust, and whose work meets your standards.
• Add ceiling fans to help circulate air and cut utility costs.
• Use energy-efficient windows, doors, lighting and appliances such as solar or on-demand water heating.
• Ventilate your house on hot summer nights by opening some windows.
• Be diligent on caulking and weatherizing – high rates of infiltration will greatly increase utility bills.
• Choose low maintenance materials whenever possible (stucco, metal roofing, windows that don’t require painting, etc.).
• Affordable roof options such as domes, reciprocal roofs, living roofs, pole construction, pallet trusses, thatch, etc.
• Provide adequate attic ventilation with soffit and ridge vents.
• Earth-berming and earth-sheltering for improved energy performance.
• Grow your own food. This can include a small indoor kitchen garden or attached greenhouse. Potential savings: thousands of dollars and additional energy savings long term.