Not all energy upgrades to older homes involve hiring contractors and spending thousands of dollars. Even small, do-it-yourself projects can conserve energy and make the environment greener.
Door draft stoppers
The oldest trick in the book is a horizontal “beanbag” or other long, flexible stopper that snuggles up against your door. Make one if you have sewing skills, buy one online or find one at the antique mall.
If you don’t have time or the resources to install draft-free doors and windows, peel-off weather stripping is inexpensive and quick.
Leak-proof pet ports
If you have indoor-outdoor animals, a lot of cold air sweeps in and out of your house or garage through pet ports. Newer versions with flexible panels that are often magnetized create stronger seals while keeping pets safe.
Teach everyone in your family the basics of energy savings—turn off lights when you’re not in the room, adjust the thermostat when you leave the house, wash dishes and clothes only when you have full loads, run hot water only when you need it and limit shower time.
Use paints that have low levels of VOCs—volatile organic compounds—to help reduce the danger of indoor air pollution from chemical outgassing.
Green pest controls
Many companies offer green pest management outside and inside your home, but learn what is being done differently before signing the contract. Help yourself by cleaning up pest-attracting clutter outside your home and inside your basement.
Organic cleaning supplies
As with green pest controls, search out cleaning products that will break down quickly in the environment.
Detox your home
At least once a year—spring is a good time—rid your home of all excess cleaning and gardening compounds, disposing of them according to county regulations or at approved disposal sites.
Do an energy self-audit
While professional audits are best, go to energy.gov/energysaver/home-energy-audits/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits for a government-approved DIY check list.
Technically, autos aren’t part of your home, but they do live in garages and are a great, if initially expensive, DIY way to reduce greenhouse gases.