If you’re looking to save some money on your monthly utility bills, here are ten tips that I have learned to make your personal home or Hawaii rehabs greener.
1. Install Energy Efficient Lighting - Energy efficient lighting is a very simple way to save some money every month. Remove all of your incandescent lightning and replace them with CFL’s (compact fluorescent bulbs). You will save up to $20-$30 over the life of each bulb.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat - When not at home, turn your AC down. You don’t want to turn it off as it takes more energy to re-cool your home completely, but keeping your AC dial at or above 78 degrees when you’re not home will save you about 10% on your cooling bill every month.
3. Plug Air Leaks - One of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly utility bills is to plug air leaks in your windows and doors. Buy some weatherstripping for the doors and use some caulk for the windows.
4. Check Your HVAC and Replace Filters - You should have your HVAC checked every 2-3 years. The cost of this minimal maintenance is well worth it. Also, don’t forget to change your filters regularly.
5. Buy Low Flow Faucets and Shower Heads – By using low flow, you’re not only helping conserve water every time you turn on your faucets, but you’re also saving up to $250 a year.
6. Install a Tankless Water Heater - Tankless water heaters produce hot water only when it’s needed and are 24%-34% more energy efficient than traditional water heaters. Tankless water heaters will also last up to 20 years, whereas a traditional water heater only lasts 10-15 years.
7. Insulate Your Water Heater - If you don’t have a tankless water heater, it’s a good idea to insulate the heater with a jacket to keep your energy costs down. Also, keep your water heater’s temperature at 120 degrees or below to save even more.
8. Only Buy Energy Star Appliances - Whenever you purchase appliances, go with the Energy Star products. Even if the cost is a little more initially, they will pay for themselves over their lifetimes with the amount of energy they save.
9. Paint Your Roof White - Painting your roof with a white reflective paint will keep your Hawaii house cooler. A 1,000 square foot roof painted white will save roughly 10 tons of carbon dioxide over a year, which amounts to taking one car off the street for 2.5 years. A white roof will save you money and save the environment at the same time.
10. Install Solar Panels - If you want a residential building permit in Hawaii today, you have to install a solar water heater. With the amount of sun in Hawaii and the lack of fresh water, the government is requiring the use of solar panels for all new construction unless you have limited sun.
If you’re worried about initial costs, don’t be. There’s a 30% tax break from the Federal government for solar panel investment up to $2000, and you get a tax rebate from the state when you purchase the panels. Furthermore, if you produce more energy than you use, you can get energy credits by feeding your power back into the grid!
These are all very simple ways to make your Hawaii home greener, get some nice tax credits from the government and help conserve our natural resources. If you’re a homeowner, these tips will help you increase your monthly disposable income (more shave ice for the kids?). If you’re an investor involved in rehabs, you’ll be able to command a higher selling price when you put your houses on the market.