Introduction: Make Your House Energy Efficient

In this instructable i will be going over some simple things you can do to make your house a more earth friendly place, and ways to help it run more efficiently. Going green is a key part in stopping global warming, and who knows you could save some money in the process!

Step 1: Lighting

Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs is one of the easiest steps towards becoming more efficient. All you have to do is take out all or some of your incandescent light bulbs and replace them with the newer compact fluorescent light bulbs. Studies have shown that CFL's use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
One of the only drawbacks to these light bulbs is the fact that they contain mercury. Though this is true, there is only and average of 4 milligrams of mercury in each bulb which is a very minuscule amount, and as long as the bulbs are intact they will not release mercury in to your home.
These particular bulbs are 26 watts that are equivalent to 100 watts of incandescent bulbs and last 5 years.
Another way to light your home is using natural sunlight through windows and skylights. Skylights can be very useful for high traffic areas or rooms that tend to be very dark. Instead of putting up a light fixture you may want to consider a skylight.

Step 2: Appliances and Electronics

Apart from using CFL's in your house; you can also take other steps towards energy efficiency. One of the easiest things you can do is fix leaky faucets. Though it may seem that this wouldn't make a big difference in your water use those little drops can add up.
Another thing you can do is try to cut down on your water use by filling your sink with hot water and cleaning your dishes by hand. Not only will this cut down on water use, but it will also lower your electric bill if you use a pump to get your water.
If you are not willing to clean your dishes by hand another thing that you can do is buy an Energy Star dish washer. These products use less electricity and water to clean dishes. Other Energy Star products include:

-water heaters
- driers and washing machines
-and just about anything electronic

Apart from using an Energy Star washing machine you can also use concentrated detergent, which contains less water, but still gets the job done. To dry your clothes you may also use an Energy Star drier or get a clothes line and hang your clothes out to dry on nice, sunny days.

Step 3: The Green Switch

Did you know you could be using power and not even know it? Well, it happens and I'm sure you do it too without knowing. This is what most people call the vampire power phenomenon. This is when a TV, phone, computer monitor, or any other standby electronic uses power without you even knowing. How can you fix it? well, all you have to do is install a "Green Switch" and when you leave the room flip the switch and it stops this effect by stopping the electric flow to the outlet.

Step 4: Composting and Gardening

For this next step i will be talking about one of the more labor intensive parts: Composting and Gardening. This is pretty self explanatory really. Just take your food wast (IE. banana peels, coffee grounds, fruits) and put it into your composer. Eventually worms and other organisms will break down the waste into a soil. Composting is important, because it cuts down on the amount of trash that goes into land fills.
Of course gardening is the act of growing your own food, which can be fun if enjoy it. Gardening helps your house become more environmentally friendly, because instead of having to have your food shipped to the supermarket and then picked up by you, all you have to do is go in your yard and pick out your fresh food that didn't take any fossil fuels to get to you. Sorry i don't have any pictures of our garden or compost bin. It was raining today and didn't get a chance to take a picture.

Step 5: Recycling

Recycling is another key factor, because it also cuts down on the amount of waste that goes into land fills. All most people have to do is put there recyclable materials into the correct bin and let the garbage truck pick it up. Some people like us have to drive to the dump and drop it off, which isn't so bad.
Recycling is usually split into 2 bins: a blue one for paper materials and a green one for metal, plastic, and glass.

Step 6: Instulation and Ventilation

Insulation and ventilation are two techniques that can cut down on your heating and cooling bills. Not only is this important for the environment, but it will also save you tons of money.
Insulation is usually located in the attic of the house. This is used to keep warm air in the house during the winter. Without insulation you could be letting all the heated air out, which is defeating the purpose of having your heater on. Depending on where you live you need anywhere from 7-12 inches of insulation.
Ventilation helps keep your home cool during the summer by letting cool air in and hot air out. By opening large doors you are able to let in cool breezes, and to let the hot air out it is best to use ceiling fans and bay windows near the top of your roof.

Thank you for reading my instructable and remember to think green!
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest

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Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest