(BPT) - Home is where the heart is. But it's also a place where families can be more conscious of their energy use. While conserving energy helps save the planet, it also helps homeowners save money.
According to Christine Ackerson, sustainability manager at LG Electronics USA, by adopting a green mindset and taking a few simple steps to be more eco-friendly, you'll help preserve our planet's resources and your budget.
Reduce, reuse and e-cycle
Phantom energy waste - the amount of energy plugged-in appliances and other electronics draw even when turned off - can add up. You can reduce phantom energy drain by unplugging appliances you don't frequently use or installing power strips that can easily be turned off. -Remember to unplug your cell phone charger when not in use. And use motion sensing exterior lighting and timers so that electronics such as space heaters and fans don't run longer than intended.
The average consumer household has about 24 electronic products, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and old or outdated electronics represent one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Recycling electronic waste, or e-waste, such as cell phones, televisions and computers can save energy and scarce resources by reducing the amount of raw materials extracted from the earth, as well as preventing harmful materials from ending up in the environment. For example, recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent of the electricity used by 3,657 homes each year in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Recycling your old electronics is easy, and there are a number of resources to help. Manufacturers and retailers often offer recycling services or take-back programs - LG offers an online search tool at www.lgerecycling program.com to find free drop off locations near you. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also offers online resources for safe e-waste disposal, or you can ask your local municipality if they offer e-waste collection programs.
The waste, the washer and the wardrobe
Doing laundry is a household necessity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average household does 392 loads of laundry each year; that translates to 7.5 loads per week. Upgrading an old, inefficient washer can not only lead to water and energy savings, it can also mean cleaner clothes.
Energy Star-qualified washers use about 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than standard washers. Larger-capacity machines save energy because you can wash more clothes in fewer loads. One new "mega-capacity" washer from LG has the largest capacity in the industry at 5.1 cubic feet. Plus, it features a special turbo wash technology that saves up to 20 minutes per load.
The "mega-capacity" washer also earned the "Energy Star Most Efficient" designation in 2013. This new program recognizes the most efficient products on the market.-Washers that earn this distinction can save consumers the equivalent of at least 68,000 bottles of water a year.
A bright idea: LED bulbs
When available, use natural lighting to light your home. On dark days and after sunset, light your home only in the areas you are using. When it comes to lights, one of the simplest yet most impactful ways to go green is to switch to LED light bulbs. They're the most energy efficient option and last 10 times longer than compact fluorescent bulbs. A cool lighting option, LED bulbs do not use mercury, so you're not putting extra toxins into landfills when the bulb does expire.
When shopping for new bulbs, look for the Energy Star label. If just one light bulb in every American home was replaced with an Energy Star bulb, we would save about $600 million in annual energy costs, plus save enough energy to light 3 million homes for an entire year!
Go autopilot to heat and cool your home
The energy used to heat and cool your home throughout the year can mean big utility bills. Adopt a green mindset and change the temperature just a few degrees and the savings will come naturally. Try adjusting your thermostat three or more degrees - you might not even feel a difference. During periods when you're not in the home, adjust it even more. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 1 percent for each degree by turning your thermostat back if the setback period is eight hours long.
An easy way to control your home's temperature is to get a programmable thermostat. Put your home's heating and cooling on autopilot by programming temperature settings for each day of the week. Depending on whether you're home or away at work, you can set your seasonal preferences so your home maximizes energy conservation while keeping temperatures comfortable. Adopt these ideas and you can make a difference in helping to address climate change and protect the planet, and also save money. Take the "Change the World, Start with Energy Star Pledge" at the Energy Star website, www.energystar.gov, and make a promise to make simple behavioral changes to make your home more energy efficient and preserve resources for future generations.