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Tips to save green and switch to more sustainable energy options at home


(NEW YORK) — As climate change takes center stage with global leaders, it’s a perfect time to take a look around our own homes to see what small changes can help reduce one’s carbon footprint.

ABC News’ technology and consumer correspondent Becky Worley kicked off “This Green House” on Monday to share tips to help the planet and cut costs on energy bills.

Home Swaps by Room

Swap a gas range for an electric option. Gas cooking can waste 34% more energy than cooking with electricity.

Opt for an energy star-certified fridge that cuts the energy use down by nearly 50%.

Change out old incandescent light bulbs in favor of LED bulbs that cost less and use 90% less energy.

Water heaters can make up 30% of a household’s total energy cost, more than all other major appliances like the fridge, dryer and dishwasher combined, so seek out a new energy-efficient model made with new technology.

Worley spoke with a contractor who recommended a budget and planet-friendly project like adding weather stripping around windows to keep the draft out and heat inside the house.

Especially with older windows, weather stripping can help with energy savings as a whole.

“If you don’t weatherstrip, with all the leaks, it can be, like, having a window open all winter long,” Worley explained. “Home heating is one of the highest costs and the biggest energy sucks in a home.”

Other Energy-Efficient Swaps and Hacks

In order to save without swapping out each appliance, Worley shared some additional tips to save on electricity with larger appliances.

First, if replacing any appliance from a dishwasher or refrigerator to a television, Energy Star media manager Brittney Gordon told GMA to look for the blue energy star label “to get those savings that you’re looking for.”

There are also yellow energy guide labels on appliances that Worley said list the FTC’s annual cost of running that particular appliance so you know what you should be spending.

Another important swap is the hot water heater, which Worley said “cost about $600 a year to operate” and according to Lowe’s, the average life span is just 10 years.

When a hot water heater needs replacing, Gordon recommends switching to a heat pump, which she said “is the best-kept secret” and “the number one most efficient way to heat water.” Plus, homeowners with the heat pump will receive a rebate upwards of $1,000 to save even more on their home.

For folks not ready or not looking to immediately upgrade their refrigerator, Worley shared a trick to reduce the energy consumption by 30%.

“Cleaning the coils at the back. All you need is a screwdriver and vacuum cleaner and you are good to go,” Worley said. “That’s a tip for those at home who aren’t planning to upgrade.”

Worley also suggested adding a smart thermostat to the house to help regulate heat use and cut down over 20% on heating costs.

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