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!

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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!

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    19 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    CFLs, like any other Fluorescent have mercury. These bulbs are supposed to be returned to the manufacturer or local power company for proper disposal when they burn out . How many people actually do that?

    I too have drank the CFL cool ade to try and save money, but the bulbs I've purchased have lasted just as long as any incandescent I've used. I've already replaced a few and am holding on to the burnt out ones.

    In retrospect, I pay more for bulbs now than I ever did, and because CFLs will be the dominant bulb in the very near future there will be more of them in landfills...but I'll save 50 bucks on electricity this year.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I hear you about the CFL balbs not lasting any where near the advertised estimates. I think there were (and still are) some VERY cheap CFL floating around out there and it may be more a QA problem than a design one.

    But LEDs are getting better and there are several major LED types coming up that have much better efficiencies and cost a lot less. Heat at the LED junction is a major problem but in the near future LED that run a lot cooler and have organic chemistry based methods will make the present LED pretty much obsolete. One estimate I saw put equivalent LED lighting at less $/Watt outputs as CFLs now on the market (one estimate was $3 for a 40 watt 110 VAC LED in 5 years). And they still project 50,000 hours on the life of the light. (When I see that all my CFLs will be recycled).

    I've got 40 watt equivalent LED lights in my living room (they take slightly less than 5 watts to actually run) and use slightly less efficient CFLs elsewhere where I don't run the lights all the time. But the REAL "hog" for me is the florescent backlight for my 52 inch LCD flatscreen. I can feel the heat coming off that baby 2 feet away. THAT is where we could save a few bucks (and reduce energy consumption) when the new LED technology kicks in.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    I live in Virginia where we have lots and lots of Homeowners Associations and they actually FORBID clothes lines - yes, you read that correctly - why, because it's not pretty and we certainly wouldn't want any one to see our undies, but you better recycle your newspaper or else ! makes sense right?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    you don't buy it per say, you wire your electrical sockets in a room through a properly rated switch so when the switch is off no power flows to the sockets, then the devices cannot draw extra power. Though it can screw up things with clocks and persitant settings that do not utilize a battery to power these circuits.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    also i somethimes fall to sleep with the tv on stanby so i got this extension it has 8 sockets and when you turn your tv with the remote off it turns everything off it works from the sensor in the remote also use a fuel magnet for your car my dad has 1 and he has saved £35 in 3 months with the magnet

    2 replies

    The fuel magnet is complete bull it will and cannot change the burn characteristics of the fuel and it will not change the amount of fuel injected. However the placebo effect and driving more conservatively can save a lot of money over a few tanks.

    irish death1sharlston

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    cool our tv is set so that if you turn the input off but forget to turn the tv off it will shut itself off.


    10 years ago on Step 2

    Does washing your dishes by hand really save water? I've heard otherwise. You have to account for rinsing the dishes as well.

    2 replies

    The real issue here is the energy used to filter, neutralize, heat and pump the water that comes out of your faucet. Getting used water from your drain to city water facilities and back to your faucet uses 20% of the worlds energy.

    We humans are terribly inefficient when it comes.

    A dishwasher is a short distance closed-loop water filtering system. It can be efficient and simple because it is not required to filter out body waste, agricultural toxins, oils and the myriad of other things that enter a municipal water treatment plant.
    A dishwasher uses a limited amount of water over and over again. Once it is heated it stays hot so it's not constantly drawing hot water from your heater that loses a lot of heat on its way to your sink.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    the simplest and cheapest insualtion is plastic bags. im gona get round to do my instrcutable on cheapest insualtion ever. all you need to do is collect plastic bags rather than throwing them away and scrunch them up a little and put them between the joists then put a flat piece of plywood over them as a floor. that way theres no issue with weight and the bagsd are free and not going to waste on a dumping ground this owrks by trapping air inside the bags and insulates the loft. its simple i have done it in my loft but only about 10% completed so far.i think i will ahve to do the instructable soon as i got some free time coming up soon what does everyone think


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I must be feeling cranky today, but this looks like another bland list cribbed from the bland lists the big newpaper chains publish. Would it be posted here if there weren't a contest involved? I'd love to have a new Mac too, but I'm willing to work for it. Someone please tell me what's here that is new, innvative, creative and not common knowledge that you can find in the paper, in flyers that local communities and recycling centers send out! IMHO, this does not qualify as an instructable at all!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    a couple random points: As for switching lightbulbs, you can do better than CFLs. CFLs do use less energy but they have the downside of being full of poison. LED bulbs, on the other hand, are not filled with deadly deadly poison, use even less energy and last even longer. Don't quote me on this but if I remember correctly I think CFLs are 5x better than regular lightbulbs and LED bulbs are twice as good as CFLs. As for the "green switch" I would suggest a clarifying note that a green switch is not a special kind of switch but just a switch with a specific wiring. Excellent Instructable even if I am being picky.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    your big windows and top view is AWESOME! just thought i'd share some love.