Here at Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, we’re no strangers to building green. Right now, Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley is building our first zero net energy housing development in Walnut Creek that will contribute more energy than it consumes! But you don’t need to install solar panels or an EV charger to make your home sustainable. Small changes can add up to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your bills. Here are six ways you can make your home more sustainable with just a trip to your local ReStore!
1. Upgrade to LED Light Bulbs
Let’s start off with an easy one! LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient option on the market, using at least 75% less energy and lasting 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
ReStore always has a huge selection of LED light bulbs in stock for any need, from lamps to outdoor flood lights!
2. Switch from Gas to Electric Appliances
You may have heard that some cities like Berkeley and San Francisco have banned natural gas hookups in new construction. And for good reason! Reducing natural gas emissions is crucial to combating the climate crisis, and residential and commercial emissions make up 13% of total U.S. emissions. But natural gas isn’t just a danger to the planet. Gas stoves in particular have been proven to leak methane and benzene, and are linked to increased rates of childhood asthma. Plus, if you electrify your home, you’ll never have to worry about a gas leak again!
But if new appliances weren’t in your budget, you can always find affordable secondhand appliances at ReStore. Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley has also launched the Home Electrification Equity Project to help make electric and solar upgrades a reality for more people.
3. Clean & Replace Filters
It’s spring cleaning season, have you checked your filters? Dirty filters on your furnace or air conditioning system slows air flow and requires more energy to push through all that dust and grime. You should clean your filters quarterly, but if it’s been a few years, you might be better off buying new filters at ReStore.
4. Weatherproof Window & Doors
Weatherproofing your home may not seem that important with our mild Bay Area winters. But properly sealing your home to keep hot or cool air in can make a big difference on how much energy it takes to keep your home comfortable. A quick fix for this is caulking gaps or cracks around drafty windows and doors. This is a quick and easy DIY, even for beginners. You can find caulk for just a couple of bucks at ReStore, plus other supplies you’ll need, like a putty knife or caulk gun!
If you have an older home, caulking may not cut it. Replacing old windows with more energy efficient models may seem like a daunting and expensive task, but it can lower household energy bills by an average of 12%! Plus, you can find new windows far below retail prices at ReStore. Another more affordable option is to add storm windows or shutters to your existing windows to increase their efficiency.
5. Improve Insulation
Many older homes also lack insulation in the attic or under the floor above a crawl space. In the winter, heated air rises and escapes out top, and in the summer, cool air sinks down through your floorboards. Getting on your hands and knees to check out your crawl space may not sound very inviting, but PG&E reports that proper insulation can save you up to 10% on your energy bill. ReStore Oakland has foam board insulation in stock right now, so you make sure the heated air you pay for stays inside!
6. Use a Dishwasher
This one might sound counterintuitive, but hear us out! High performing, Energy Star certified dishwashers use 3.5 gallons of water or less per cycle, while hand washing can use 2 gallons per minute. The drought may be over for now, but any Californian knows that won’t last forever! Dishwashers also use less energy than hand washing, and you can use even less when you only run full loads and let them air dry. If your dishwasher remembers the 90s, or if you just don’t have one, check out ReStore to find an affordable energy efficient model!
Sustainability is a core value at ReStore, so we strive to make eco-friendly choices accessible to everyone. We’ll never solve the climate crisis if efficient appliances and upgrades are too expensive and out of reach. Whether you’re looking to upgrade to an electric stove, or just switch out your light bulbs, stop by your local ReStore to see what sustainable swaps are in store!