This sixth video of the WITF climate series addresses some more advanced steps you can take within your home to reduce your carbon footprint after making the smaller changes discussed in earlier videos. As Rachel McDevitt, a WITF StateImpact reporter says, some of these larger changes you might want to make in your home “won’t be compatible with your house, or your budget.” On average, it can take 8 years for U.S. citizens to pay off the solar panels they've purchased. Once they are paid off, they can save $1,500 each year on energy bills until the solar panels die after their 25 year lifespan. So what can you do if something like solar panels aren’t an option for your home?
One thing you can do is visit your utility company’s website. Andrew Jones, a PhD student of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University says that these companies usually provide rebates or help for low-income households looking to "go green." For example, First Energy, a home utilities company in Pennsylvania, has appliance rebate programs for limited income customers along with other energy-saving incentive programs.
Another cost-effective “eco” change you can make in your home is to add storm windows. Adding these will keep in cool air during the summer and act as insulation in the winter, as well as prevent air from leaking through the edges of the window frame. Adding storm windows can save you up to $350 on your energy bills.
You could also make sure your home is actually properly insulated. WITF affirms that this will reduce the “energy you need to cool and heat your home.” Brian Henderson, Manager of Energy Services at Envinity says that as these larger, more environmentally-focused changes are made, your household will be using so much less energy and saving so much money that you can downsize to a smaller furnace. This will help you save money by owning mechanical equipment that is the right size for your home’s electrical needs.
McDevitt suggests purchasing products with an energy star certification. Seeing this certification assures your that the item in question has been approved as energy-efficient by the government.
Don’t forget WITF news stated in their first video of this series that, “home energy and electricity makes up an estimated 20% of [the United State’s] greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s often our biggest source of personal emissions.” Despite this information, they also said that electricity sources are more likely to become environmentally cleaner over time, so it’s a more sustainable choice to invest in electric-based appliances. When renovating your home, always choose appliances that are energy-run versus run solely by fossil fuels.
As WITF news says, maybe after considering all the aforementioned options, then you could maybe look into solar panels!
What can I do about climate change? Part 6: Upgrade Your Home. WITF News. https://www.instagram.com/p/CxNOcWxtLIh/
What can I do about climate change? Part 1: Start at Home. WITF News. https://www.instagram.com/p/CvzGr2DPQSo/
C, Crail and Corinne Tynan. How Much Do Solar Panels Save the Average Homeowner? Forbes Home. https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/solar/how-much-solar-panels-save/
Pennsylvania: For Your Home. FirstEnergy Corporation. https://www.firstenergycorp.com/save_energy/save_energy_pennsylvania.html
Storm Window. EnergyStar. https://www.energystar.gov/products/storm_windows_0