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20 percent of urban ambient air pollution is caused by domestic fuel burning, according to a study on ambient particulate matter in cities. Pollution is already a visible problem in Orange County, with smog becoming a common sight for the past few years. There are various sources of environmental pollution at home, whether you are living in a modern home or one that was built decades ago. Luckily, there are many improvements you can make to your home, not only for the environment, but also to help you save money.

Harness the power of the sun

A great way to save energy is to produce your own. Installing solar panels at home will give you a renewable source of energy that has no negative impact on the environment. You get to save on your annual energy bills, which are estimated to add up to $1,945, and you can even make money if you contribute some of it back to the grid. Initial installation costs may be high, but the energy savings over the life of the solar panels will be worth it. You can also use the energy of the sun to air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer. The heating element and spin mechanism that dryers use consume a lot of energy, and most people can agree that they’re unnecessary unless you need to wear the clothes immediately. You can save energy and money by letting the sun and wind do the drying for you.

Switch to energy-efficient appliances 

Most appliances we use at home now have energy-efficient options available that homeowners should consider. The first and easiest thing to change is light bulbs. Light bulbs are one of the most underestimated household items when it comes to energy use. One light bulb does not use a lot of energy on its own, but if you always have five of them in use all day and night, things will start adding up. First of all, you need to turn off any light bulbs you are not using, even if it makes your home seem dull. You should also replace your old bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which, according to Energy Star, use up to 75 percent less energy. Another thing you can change is your water heater. When installing a new water heater, you need to carefully consider the type, size and efficiency level of the unit. If you want to decrease your water usage and energy bill, you should switch to a tankless water heater, which delivers hot water on demand without unnecessarily storing it in a tank. This ensures that no energy is wasted when hot water cools down while in pipes or in the storage tank. 

Plant trees 

Trees are great for the environment. Also, planting trees near the southern parts of your home can help you save tons of money every year. This is because, during the summer, the sun’s harsh rays will be blocked by the trees, helping you save on cooling costs. Trees also block strong cold winds during the winter, which can reduce your heating costs. On top of that, trees add to the aesthetic quality of your home, which improves its value. 

As a resident of this planet, you have to do your part to conserve the environment and protect natural resources. By doing the above things, you’ll do your part to help the environment, and also save your money while you’re at it.

Article from Jennifer Gill

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.