Category Archives: greenhouse gas emissions

25 Simple and Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Efficiency

Several benefits come along with improving the efficiency of your home, including healthier living conditions, increased savings, positive environmental effects, a higher level of energy independence, and even a boost in property value.

Ultra-efficient homes aim to reduce unnecessary energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and demands for nonrenewable resources by combining state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction, appliances, and lighting with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating and solar electricity. By taking advantage of local climate and site conditions, designers can even incorporate passive solar heating and cooling and energy-efficient landscaping strategies.

fluorescent bulbs

However, not everyone has the time, money, or ability to transform his or her dwelling into an ultra-efficient house. Luckily, there are a number of simple things you can do that will still boost your home’s efficiency and help you to start saving both your wallet and the environment.

Note that before you begin to make your home more energy efficient, it’s important to know where you currently stand. Several solar companies offer energy audits, during which an energy professional will inspect your home and determine areas where efficiency can be improved, as well as which parts of the property could use additional attention. It’s recommended to start with an audit to find out which items on this list will be most beneficial for you specifically. Here are 25 simple and easy ways to increase your home’s efficiency.

1. Get a programmable thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat can save money and increase efficiency by automatically turning down heating and cooling appliances during times when no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save homeowners hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs.

2. Check weather stripping and caulking

Ensuring that your windows are properly caulked and your doors have good weather stripping can help keep cold drafts and warm air from seeping into your home. If you do find that your weather stripping and caulking needs to be replaced, it’s a quick, inexpensive DIY project that you could likely complete in just a few hours.

3. Unplug appliances when not in use

If you have appliances that you only use occasionally, there is no reason for them to be drawing energy around the clock. Getting in the habit of unplugging appliances when you’re not using them is a simple way to conserve energy.

4. Revamp windows

Windows are a major source of heat loss in a home, so it’s important to make sure that your windows are as efficient as possible. There are a number of ways to revamp your windows, including replacing aluminum frames with vinyl, installing multiple panes, tinting, and replacing your current windows with Energy Star-rated panes.

5. Switch out light bulbs

If you currently have incandescent lights, consider replacing them with fluorescents. Although compact fluorescent bulbs are more expensive initially, they provide considerable savings in the long run because they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Even using a mix of fluorescent and incandescent lighting throughout your home can have a significant impact on overall energy usage.

6. Add insulation

Insulation is the key to maintaining heat in your home. As a result, a tightly sealed house can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Taking the time to add a little extra insulation to your attic, ceilings, and walls will prevent cold drafts and ensure that you won’t pay unnecessary heating costs.

7. Update old appliances with Energy Star appliances

Older appliances are less energy-efficient than newer models, so replacing old kitchen appliances, washers, dryers, water heaters, and furnaces with Energy Star-certified devices will go a long way towards saving energy and lowering your electric bills. Look for the Energy Star label while shopping to make sure you’re getting an energy- and money-saving appliance.

8. Audit temperature settings

Check both your home thermostat and your water heater thermostat to ensure that they are each set at an optimal temperature. A water heater set higher than 140 degrees wastes quite a bit of energy, so the savings may be worth turning it down a bit.

9. Hang curtains

Hanging thick curtains over your windows not only makes your home more decorative and snug, it can also help prevent heat from escaping from your house.

10. Improve water heater

Improving the efficiency of your water heater is a great way to conserve energy and lower your bills. You can insulate the hot water lines to prevent them from cooling off quickly between uses, or install on-demand hot water circulating loops that are activated when you turn on the tap and deactivated when hot water has reached the fixture.

11. Fix furnace

Take a look at your furnace and see if you can increase its efficiency by switching out the air filters or sealing the ducts. If you really want to boost efficiency, consider exchanging your current furnace with a new, high efficiency module that burns less gas and produces fewer carbon emissions. Don’t forget to close the vents in rooms that you use less frequently to ensure that you’re only heating or cooling rooms that are occupied.

12. Add solar panels

Adding solar panels to your house can help you cut down on energy costs by giving you the ability to produce your own electricity. If you aren’t interested in purchasing panels, many solar companies offer lease and power purchase agreement options that still give you the opportunity to utilize green energy and save money.

13. Install ceiling fans

Air conditioners require a large amount of energy to cool a home. Consider installing ceiling fans throughout your home and using them in place of air conditioners.


14. Plant a tree

If you have room, plant a tree in your yard on the side of your house that gets the most sun. During the summer, the tree and its leaves will provide shade to help keep your home cool. In winter, the tree will be bare and allow warm sunshine into your house during the most optimal time of day.

15. Install a rainwater collection system

Buying or building a rainwater collection system will allow you to trap rainwater that would otherwise become runoff. That trapped water can then be used as irrigation water for your lawn or plants, cutting down on the water you’ll need to pull from other sources.

16. Update toilets

Toilets alone account for approximately 30 to 40 percent of the total water used in a home. To conserve water usage, install something more efficient, like low-flow toilets, vacuum-assist toilets, or dual-flush toilets.

17. Install daylighting

Daylighting is the practice of using natural light rather than electricity to illuminate the home’s interior. It can be achieved by installing skylights, light shelves, clerestory windows, and light tubes.

18. Update roof

Some roofs are made from special materials that are designed to reflect sunlight and lower roofing temperatures. This energy-saving technique is ideal for houses in warm climates where air conditioning costs are high all year round. If you live in one of these climates and are in need of a new roof, consider installing a reflective roof.

19. Choose appropriate flooring

The type of flooring you have in your home can have an effect on energy efficiency, so ensure that your flooring is appropriate. Carpet should be used if you want to trap heat and keep your home warmer, while tile should be used to keep your home cooler.

20. Paint the house

The color of your home can greatly contribute to the heat inside it. A light exterior color will help the home stay cooler, while a dark exterior color will better maintain heat. If your home is located in a warm climate, consider painting it a lighter color. If your home is located in a colder climate, painting it a darker exterior color is ideal.

21. Cook smarter

An enormous amount of energy is used while cooking. To ensure that you don’t waste energy while you cook, switch your conventional oven out for a convection oven, use a microwave instead of an oven when possible, and put lids on pots and pans to heat food more quickly.

22. Change your laundry routine

Laundry is another huge energy suck. To conserve energy while washing your clothes, wait to wash until you have a full load, avoid using high-temperature settings, clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer, and air-dry clothing when possible.

23. Be mindful of activities

Take care to turn off lights when you leave a room, shut the door behind you, and take shorter showers. Small and simple changes like these can make a big difference over time and help to bring your total energy costs down.

24. Take advantage of tax incentives

Recent increases in incentives now allow for homeowners to receive credit for up to 30 percent of the cost of energy-efficient home improvements to an existing home (up to $1,500). That, on top of the savings you’ll see on your bills and the increased value of your home, equates to even more money in your pocket.

25. Keep an eye on energy consumption

Invest in an energy monitor and put it someplace where the whole family can look at it. Having the ability to see how much energy you are actually using, as well as how much that energy is costing, can help keep you aware, accountable, and on the right track towards optimal home efficiency.

Author: Sarah Hancock

Image credit: pixabay


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

11 Best and Popular US Carbon Offset Providers

Carbon offsets are schemes or initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas or carbon dioxide emissions by compensating for or neutralizing the emissions made. In other words, it pertains to investment in environmental projects with the sole objective of balancing carbon footprints. It’s a practice that has increasingly gained popularity globally with more and more carbon offset providers joining the initiative.

The carbon offset providers primarily work to reduce future emissions by investing in clean energy technologies, planting trees, or buying and compensating for the carbon emitted from emissions trading scheme. Offset providers widely vary in terms of their areas of focus and charges, and their operations are determined by their respective locations. Overall, whether in the UK, US, Australia, or Canada, the central objective is to promote environmental sustainability. Here are the top 11 carbon offset providers in the US.


1. Sustainable Travel International

The mission of Sustainable Travel International is reducing the impacts of carbon footprint through tourism and travel. In partnership with NGOs, governments, companies and communities, the offset provider works towards sustainable development goals to limit the adverse effects of climate change by selling carbon credits with regards to flying or other travel activities and using the funds to protect the planet’s terrestrial ecosystems.

Its focus is centrally on preventing deforestation, irresponsible development, and over-exploitation. In the various partnership projects, Sustainable Travel International ensures real and measurable results by supporting biodiversity conservation, clean and renewable energy, and planting trees that help in absorbing and storing carbon.

2. Green Mountain Energy

With an overriding commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing the overall environmental impacts, Green Mountain Energy offers high quality standards on carbon offset provision. The high quality standards set by the provider ensures that the carbon offsets are sourced from reputable and verified third party industries.

The main areas of operation include the advancement of forestry projects, waste water treatment, promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, and the capture of methane gas at landfills.

3. Native Energy

Native Energy takes pride as an organization responsible for offering solutions to climate change through the provision of carbon tracking services, carbon offsets, and renewable energy credits. Founded in 2002, it has assisted individuals and businesses in identifying and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and reach their goals on environmental sustainability.

Native Energy has also partnered with Green America in promoting actions towards reducing carbon footprints by funding new solar, wind, water, and conservation projects. Native Energy states that by purchasing carbon offsets from them, it helps to finance new wind turbines, renewable energy at schools, and methane gas capturing on family farms.

4. WGL Energy

WGL Energy is devoted to offering money-saving and reliable carbon offset options for individuals, businesses and organizations across the US as well as the sate. Founded in 1996 and located in Vienna, Virginia, the offset provider was previously known as Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.

It currently serves based on the knowledge that every penny counts and when it comes to the commitment to supporting sustainable practices, WGL Energy ensures value is placed on promoting carbon reduction, renewable energy and energy efficient solutions.

On customer’s behalf, WGL Energy invests the carbon offsets to reduce carbon footprint on projects such as tree planting, water conservation and management, and the development of future clean air.

5. Cool Effect

Cool Effect supports the reduction of carbon emission by funding carbon-reducing projects across the globe. The offset provider operates on a crowdfunding platform and it’s on this basis that it generates the funds it uses to advance carbon-reducing projects. Cool Effect main headquarters is in Kentfield, California and its success is associated with the high number of projects it has funded globally in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Just like many other carbon offset companies in the US, Cool Effect’s main objective is to fight climate change by finding impressive projects around the world that have a proven track record of reducing carbon emissions.

6. ClearSky Climate Solutions

The focus of Clearsky is searching for opportunities to manage climate change problems by designing and supporting market-based forest carbon. For the most part, Clearsky’s priority on conserving forest resource in the long-term gives it the credibility of being among the best US carbon offset providers.

Through carbon footprint assessment and comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction services, Clearsky Climate Solution easily provides individuals, groups, companies and organizations with clear guidelines on how to reduce and balance emissions with high-quality carbon offsets.

It also provides customized technical assistance to those who seek to offset their carbon footprint through periodic workshops, seminars, and training programs throughout the year.


7. Sterling Planet

Sterling Planet is one of the leading providers of retail renewable energy. With several years of experience, Sterling Planet has been accredited as a carbon offset provider in the US on the basis of developing green power projects and supporting hundreds of clean energy generators.

For this reason, EPA has more than once recognized Sterling Planet as an award winning green power supplier of the year. Specific to carbon offset initiative, it counter balances carbon use for the American community by supporting projects with an objective of capturing greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy use and personal transportation.

Sterling Planet assures buyers that their offsets are of high-quality, real, additional – more than “business as usual,” and permanent.

8. 3 Degrees

3 Degrees partners with various environmental conscious organizations and connects with millions of people to help make positive environmental impact. 3 Degrees is also well equipped in the delivery of renewable energy products and climate change consultancy.  It has helped universities, small businesses, government agencies, and even Fortune 500 companies in offsetting their carbon footprint.

Aside from connecting thousands of people with clean energy, it has about 8.8 million verified carbon offsets delivered. 3 Degrees also sources top-notch, third party verified carbon offsets from emission reduction initiatives. As a matter of fact, it has bought and dedicated more than 3 million tons of carbon offsets.

9. BEF Carbon Mix

BEF Carbon Mix empowers business to be in balance with the environment through the provision of a myriad set of programs, products and tailored solutions that aid in mitigating environmental footprint. The solutions, products, and programs provided by BEF Carbon Mix are matched with various business goals and are meant to reduce the overall impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

Particularly, the programs and solutions are geared towards designing and strengthening renewable energy technology, water conservation and management, forest management, waste heat capture and landfill gas capturing.

10. TerraPass

Terrapass projects run throughout the United States, offering solutions to the major environmental problems and supporting local communities. The main areas of concentration by TerraPass include expanding and supporting farm power, production of clean energy from wind power, and capturing landfill gas.

The offsets options offered by TerraPass are on car and airplane emissions, home energy use, and offsets schemes for business as well as for wedding events. With the headquarters in SanFransico, California, TerraPass utilizes the funds from carbon credit purchases to fund projects such as wind power, landfill gas capture, and improving forest management with the objective of reducing greenhouse gasses.

11. Carbon Solutions Group

Carbon Solutions Group is guided by the slogan “low carbon for a sustainable future.”  The groups’ aim is developing effective strategies for environmental asset management and its primary role is supported by several independent working relationships globally.

In terms of carbon offset provision, it delivers solutions by capturing 100% of landfill methane. Other areas of specialization by the group include greenhouse gas emission monitoring, green building projects, carbon and renewable energy projects, and emissions management and mitigation.

Carbon Solutions Group also has a comprehensive team of experts including financial traders, policy analysts, multi-disciplined engineers and environmental consultants thus the ranking as one of the top carbon offset providers in the US.

Links for these offset providers just to verify if I’m on the right track as some links refused to open due to my IP address, regards!

Image credit: pixabay


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)