Saving Money and Energy at Home
Mar 21, 2023
There are many ways to protect your wallet and the environment at home, from household hacks to large-scale renovations. As we prep for our annual Recycle Day on April 22, let’s see how it’s done with a trip to the Green home.
Meet the Greens
You’ve kept up with the Joneses, but have you met the Greens? Aniela and Paul are green living experts, and they’ve invited you over to watch the game. Here’s what you notice about the Green way of life.
Walking Up to the House
In the driveway, you pass by:
- An electric vehicle, for which they received . At last year’s MFS Recycling Day, they also received free antitheft measures like VIN-etching and catalytic converter marker kits. Looks like they’ve visited the car wash recently, which saves up to 100 gallons per washing vs. DIY.
- A compost collection bin, which is critical to reducing methane and the use of chemical fertilizers, among other benefits.
- A recycling bin that’s nearly empty. Did you know “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” is phrased in order of priority? It’s best to reduce consumption by not buying newly manufactured items. For things you have to buy, opt for glass or metal packaging and reuse it to store prepared or dry foods, hardware, crafting materials, and other items. Just 5% of household plastic waste is actually recycled, and the plastics just keep coming. This is why recycling is the last resort (before trashing).
At the front door, you notice energy-efficient windows and a heat pump, which powers the air conditioning, heating, and dryer.
Ringing the doorbell, you look up to find solar panels that save the Greens an average of $300 per year—plus, they received a 30% tax credit on the installation. You also admire their native shrubbery, which saves loads of time and water. Ask your local landscaper about native landscaping in New York.
In the foyer
As you enter, you see bags of stuff ready to go to MFS Recycling Day:
- Old personal and financial documents to be shredded for safety
- Electronics for recycling: dead batteries, broken USB cords, headphone cords, video game controllers, wiped smartphones with no trade-in value, etc. (Only about 15% of e-waste gets recycled in the United States.)
And don’t tell their kids, but the Greens also plan to adopt a pet fee-free at the event, courtesy of MFS! Pet adoption helps reduce the environmental and welfare impacts of breeding mills.
To the Kitchen
Paul thanks you for bringing your famous buffalo dip and leads you to the kitchen. The centerpiece is the electric oven range, for which they received a hefty government rebate, and the ceramic-based nonstick cookware on it, which takes less energy to heat. Next to the ENERGY STAR dishwasher that uses just three gallons per load vs. 27 is the ENERGY STAR fridge, set between 38°F and 42°F. Inside:
- A water-filtering pitcher - So the Greens can avoid buying bottled water.
- Glass jars of veggie broth – They save money and food waste by making broth out of scraps they collect in the freezer.
- As much plant-based, farmer’s market, organic, unprocessed food as possible – Choosing these foods reduces chemical usage and carbon emissions from food transportation and processing, with significant potential to stabilize greenhouse gas levels.
- Bulk meal prep – Cooked in large quantities less frequently to reduce oven use.
On the counter, you see:
- Recycled aluminum foil – Made from 100% post-consumer sources like car parts, cookware and siding.
- Appliances unplugged or attached to a tidy power strip or desktop power station they can easily flick on and off to save phantom power.
The Living Room
Because the Greens insulated and sealed the house with a $1,600 rebate, the temperature is perfect as you sink into their stylish preowned sofa. Recalling the “Reuse” principle, buying clothing and furniture second hand is better than buying new.
The eco-innovations continue into the restroom, where you see:
- A dual flush toilet, which uses half as much water as older ones. Did you know 79% of water lost in the home is from toilet leaks, which waste up to 300 gallons per day?
- An inexpensive attachment bidet, which uses less water than the production of toilet paper. Nearby, a basket of drying cloths with a small hamper, plus 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper for guests that aren’t accustomed to bidets.
- Reusable makeup-remover pads as well as bar soaps and conditioners for body, face, and hair to reduce single-use plastic packaging.
Paying for Home Upgrades
Interested in Green living? Ask us about refinancing or using your home equity or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to pay for upgrades.
As you can see, the Greens have capitalized on many savings opportunities. Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers funding to help Americans reduce energy costs and adopt clean energy. Here’s a helpful guide to the IRA alongside a list of tax credit forms.
See you on April 22
If you aren’t ready to spring or don’t own a home, just start small: Many utility providers offer personalized reports and recommendations, so log into yours to see where you can improve. And as always, come to our Recycling Day on April 22, 2023 in Maspeth from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM to learn more about how you can save money and go green.