You might have clicked on this article because making your home more energy efficient means reducing your yearly costs (hey, who doesn’t want that!) or maybe you’re coming at it with a concern for the environment. We value that too!

It’s undeniable that we need to change our habits – the average US household is the world’s second largest consumer of energy per year (10,399 kilowatt hours to be exact, and beat only by Canada by just about 150 more hours per year), which is more than double what our friends in the UK consume and triple those in Germany. To put this into even more context, we emit as a household on average 21,355 lbs of CO2 per year which is the equivalent of two cars. It’s a problem. Not just for our bank accounts but for the environment.

Don’t worry, we’re not here to just dole out doom and gloom. We are sharing 5 unexpected ways to make your home more efficient. Which means we’re skipping the more well-known points of switching to energy efficient appliances, turning down your thermostat and adopting LED lighting over any other. These tips you probably aren’t familiar with:

  1. Get rid of energy vampires: cell phone chargers, electric toothbrushes, and other appliances still consume electricity even if they are not in use or turned off. By plugging them in just when they need to be used, you can save on average 6-8% of electricity, which accounts for an overall amount of $7 billion nationwide.
  2. Reverse your ceiling fan in winter: first of all ceiling fans are more energy efficient than air conditioners, so if you can make the switch, do so. Secondly, ceiling fans can help keep your home warmer in the winter by simple reversing the fan’s direction to spin clockwise. In doing so, you’ll push the hot air downwards so that any heating that rises will be evenly distributed throughout your home.
  3. Wash your clothes with warm or cold water: 90% of the electricity consumed by your washer is used to heat up water. The next time you put a load in, make sure that you use soap that can be used with cold or warm water and adjust the settings.
  4. Switch to low flow showers heads: the average shower head uses 5 gallons of water per minute, but changing them with low flow options you can reduce your consumption to 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
  5. Window treatments & rugs insulate your home: window treatments and rugs can be strategically used to maintain your home’s temperature. In the winter draw your curtains/blinds/shades at night to block out the cold air and keep the warmth in. In the summertime, solar shades are a great option to ensure that you still have light in your home while stopping intense sunlight from making your home a furnace.

Bonus: If you are going through a home renovation, consider energy efficient radiant flooring. This type of heating system will distribute heat evenly throughout your home, avoiding cold pockets of air and unbearable heat at higher levels. Just remember that not all flooring material is compatible with radiant flooring.