At the start of the latest century many people were under the illusion that house prices could only ever go up. Economies around the world were booming, apart from the slight concern over pollution and climate change the future looked exceptionally rosy for both the middle class and the working class. Everyone was encouraged to buy things on credit, to take out loans using their homes as collateral. Consumption was good and it just made everyone richer.
The proverbial matter hit the fan in 2008 with the global financial disaster, and since then things have generally gone from bad to worse. Despite the mass media telling us that the recovery is just around the corner, it is hard to find any real evidence of this. Governments pump billions of Dollars and Euros into failing economies and demand ‘the people’ accept austerity measures. It seems to only be the top executives of Wall Street and Thread Needle Street financial institutions that are doing better than ever.
In November 2011 the International Energy Agency released figures that showed that unless the world enacts the most far-reaching and stringent controls on carbon emissions then the consequences would inevitably be catastrophic flooding, mass extinctions and the transformation of the Amazon rainforest into a desert.
All of this means that we have to face up to reality. No more buying on credit, no more relying on world leaders to make everything great again. We must save money and find ways to reduce outgoings. One of the best places to start is to reduce home bills. This reduces carbon emissions and saves you money.
There are several ways to reduce home bills. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Change all your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs last 13 times longer than incandescent light bulbs and use 75% less electricity. Another possibility is LED lights that last even longer. You can buy cheap LED lights for sheds that run on solar power.
2) If you don’t have one then get a digital programmable thermostat. Look for the Energy Star approval rating. Honeywell, Hunter and Lux Products do good programmable thermostats. If sensible settings are used heating and cooling bills can be cut by as much as 30% a year.
3) Get a low flow shower head. These cost as little as $25 and can reduce water consumption by half when taking a shower. They do so by mixing air with water. There is virtually no difference in the actual experience of taking a shower.
4) Either unplug devices that go on stand-by or buy a smart strip that overrides standby. Digital displays etc. that stay permanently on waste electricity and provide no appreciable benefit.
5) Replace old energy inefficient fridges, TVs, washing machines and air-con units with more efficient models. They will pay for themselves in the long run.
6) Try to better insulate your home, and keep doors shut to keep heat in. Hunt out the cracks around doors and windows that are leaking heat and do what you can to block them.
The more you start to take actions to reduce your home bills the more money that you will save. This money can be spent on bigger energy saving strategies such as double glazing and solar energy. The more you save the more you reduce carbon emissions and the better you make your financial security in the future.