Going Green without Spending Green

While I generally refrain from writing do-it-yourself oriented posts, I picked up some tips last night at a Home Depot Energy Clinic that I couldn’t resist sharing. These ideas really are so easy, anyone can implement them.  Better yet, you can go green without having to spend a lot of green. In fact, keeping your home’s energy bill low as we enter the winter season just might count on it.


Identify and seal air leaks: Check for leaks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, switches — even attic ceiling hatches — on a cool, windy day. Use a match or lighted incense stick to identify drafts or temperature differences. Apply caulking, weatherstripping or a foam sealant like “Great Stuff” (about $5.00 a can) to seal leaks as appropriate. Additionally, sealing the space between baseboards and floorboards will not only prevent drafts, but will also help keep pests from entering your living areas.


Look for the ENERGY STAR logo: If you are already planning to replace one or more of your home appliances, look for products that have earned the ENERGY STAR distinction. These household products meet strict energy guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy. Appliances bearing the ENERGY STAR logo reduce utility bills, conserve energy and water or come from environmentally-preferred resources. An ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerator alone   consumes 1/2   the energy  used by refrigerator models sold 4 years ago. While in the past you may have had to hunt for products with this stamp of approval, I can assure you that this year they are front-and-center on the showroom floor. Plus, as I perused the price tags on these models, I identified no discernable difference in cost versus non-ENERGY STAR items. For more information, visit www.energystar.gov 


Participate in an Energy Clinic: I highly recommend attending an energy workshop at your local Home Depot. They’re free, informative and expected to roll out across the country. Sign up at www.homedepotclinics.com.


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4 Responses to “Going Green without Spending Green”

  1. terry Says:

    hi patti,

    great job on the blog! keep up the good work!!

    can you tell me more about the “great stuff” product you refer to? it sounds like something i’d be interested in.


  2. harvardtohardhat Says:

    Hi Terry,

    “Great Stuff” is a foam sealant that stops drafts by filling, sealing and insulating cracks and openings around doors, windows, plumbing and other areas where heat or cool air can escape from your home. The material expands to take the shape of cracks and voids, forming a permanent and airtight barrier that is both cost-effective and energy-efficient. While the product is economical and easy to use, there are different varieties depending upon the type of area you are treating – one for large gaps, one for small gaps & cracks and one for doors & windows. It is easily found at do-it-yourself retailers and hardware stores.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Barbara Says:

    Question, you talk about Energy Star applicances saving on the cost of electricity, what is the average life of an applicance today, and does it make sense to replace all older appliances in the home?

    Thank you.

  4. harvardtohardhat Says:

    Hi Barbara!

    Below is a list of appliances and average span (in years) According to the National Association of Home Builders. Of course, they vary depending on the appliance:

    Exhaust Fan 10
    Compactors 6
    Dishwashers 9
    Disposers, Food Waste 12
    Dryers, Electric 13
    Dryers, Gas 13
    Freezers 11
    Microwave Ovens 9
    Ranges, Electric 13
    Ranges, Gas 15
    Range/Oven Hoods 14
    Refrigerators, Compact 9
    Refrigerators, Standard 13
    Washers 10
    Water Heaters, Electric 11
    Water Heaters, Gas 10
    Air-Conditioners, Room 10
    Air-Conditioners, Unitary 15
    Boilers, Electric 13
    Boilers, Gas 21
    Dehumidifiers 8
    Furnaces, Warm-Air, Electric 15
    Furnaces, Warm-Air, Gas 18
    Furnaces, Warm-Air, Oil 20
    Heat Pumps 16
    Humidifiers 8

    If your appliances are within this range, many sources do recommend replacing them given the long-term energy efficiency payback (about 30% in energy savings per month).

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