Good insulation in the walls and attic is key; it lessens the amount of heat that flows out of the house in winter or into the house in summer. The other important factor is making sure your home has sturdy windows. If the insulation and windows in your home are not up to par, try planting shade trees and shrubs on the west side of your house. The summer foliage blocks infrared radiation that would warm the house, while in winter, the bare branches let this radiation through.
How old is your furnace? A high efficiency furnace burns hotter, using less gas and producing less carbon emissions, while most older furnaces built before 1992 with standing pilots, waste about 35 percent of the fuel used. Also, try turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and insulate hot water lines to keep them from cooling off as quickly between each use.
A few more simple solutions:
-Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps.
-Unplug appliances when you go away on vacation – you’d be surprised how much energy your stereo is still using even when turned off.
-Close vents in guest bedrooms that are used less frequently, so you’re only heating or cooling occupied rooms.
Of course, if solar panels can fit in your budget, they are definitely worth looking into. But in the meantime, these tips should help you save the ozone and a buck or two.