Energy-Saving Projects for the Weekend

June 10, 2023

If you are considering home improvement upgrades that can save energy and money, below are three energy saving projects that can be completed in a day or less!

Get smart about home cooling and heating.

Much of your energy bill comes from cooling and heating your home. Using Smart thermostats can help keep these costs in check, with ENERGY STAR®-certified models saving about 8% on annual energy costs.

Now that smart thermostats are more affordable—as little as $70—this simple upgrade makes for a fun, efficient weekend project. Smart thermostats offer a variety of features compared to the average model. For example, the thermostat allows you to set custom temperature schedules, adjust the settings from anywhere (from your phone), and learn your cooling and heating preferences over time.

 If you are ready to tackle this project, remember to play it safe and read the installation instructions for your new smart thermostat. This project typically involves shutting off your HVAC at the breaker panel, disconnecting/removing the old thermostat, installing the new smart thermostat, and connecting it to your home Wi-Fi. 

Go green with a rain barrel.

If you’ve got a green thumb, you already know that rainwater is the best water for outdoor plants. Rainwater is free of minerals, salts, and treatment chemicals found in tap water or groundwater. It also contains helpful macronutrients to foster healthy plant growth.

Installing a rain barrel is an easy way to harvest large amounts of rainwater and reduce home water usage, which is a win-win. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one rain barrel can save a homeowner 1,300 gallons of water annually. Most residential rain barrels range in size from 50 to 90 gallons, so the size you purchase will depend on your watering needs.

The simplest way to install a rain barrel is to position the plastic or wooden barrel directly under your gutter downspout. To gather more water, install a pipe from the gutter to the barrel to receive all the rainwater. If you are worried about insects and debris entering the barrel, consider a cover for the top of the rain barrel.

Create fresh savings with a DIY clothesline. 

If you have enough outdoor space, installing a clothesline is a great way to save energy. Not only will you save on dryer costs—in the summer, you can also save on cooling costs since unwanted heat from the clothes dryer won’t be added to your home, which makes your air conditioner work harder. Additionally, air drying is much gentler on fabrics and will keep your clothes and linens looking fresh longer.

To create your own clothesline, you will need two T-posts, wire, and two hook-and-eye turnbuckles. Depending on your soil, you may need a bag of concrete to set the poles. If you do not want to put concrete in the ground, you can install the clothesline between two trees. When setting up your clothesline, a typical load of laundry requires about 35 feet of line, so keep this in mind as you determine the best location. If an outdoor clothesline isn’t an option, no sweat! You can easily create or purchase an indoor drying rack that folds to save space.

These are just a few simple ideas to help you save energy and money. So, get out there, roll up those sleeves, and tackle a few projects.