As part of the Lowe’s Creative Team, one of our August challenges was Making Our Home More Energy Efficient. I know this isn’t a sexy topic, but it really is one that is important and one that I wanted to tackle.
When we were doing the BIG demolition and construction at the 1905 Cottage, we discovered that none of the wiring in the whole house was grounded. Can you believe that? Much of the wiring was ancient “tube and post”. There was an outlet in the bathroom that was directly over the sink and it wasn’t grounded. So dangerous.
So we re-wired the whole thing. My husband spent about 4 weeks up in the attic and in the crawl space of the home with a mask and ventilation re-wiring the whole house. We figured that it took over 80 hours to do. (We also consulted a certified electrician who oversaw the whole thing.)
I’ll share more on the electrical redo in other posts. But as part of this process of rewiring we knew we wanted to put in some can lights in the cottage, especially since I wanted to use the space as a studio/office. The only light in the main front room was a ceiling fan with two bulbs.
And when we were putting in the wiring for the lights we knew we wanted to go the energy efficient route. It is AMAZING the progress that has been made in lighting over the past 20 or so years! My uncle was one of the pioneers in LED lighting science and I remember him telling me about 10 years ago to see what would happen and he was so right.
So we put in these amazing can lights and they are so bright. The best part is that LED light isn’t that cold light that I had previously associated with LED lights. It is a warm, beautiful color. I love working over there at night now. Also, if you are thinking about putting in some more efficient can lights, check your state for what type of rebate programs you might have. It will not only save you money on your energy bills, but also you can get rebates that might pay for some or all of your costs (its $20 per light fixture here from Rocky Mountain Power).
We switched to mostly CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs a few years ago, but none of us like the light. So, little by little, we’ve been replacing bulbs with LED bulbs — they’re more expensive but are supposed to last 10 years. And they are way more energy efficient!
The second thing we did to be more energy efficient was we put in a Nest thermostat from Lowe’s. Our house was built in the 90’s so it isn’t super old. But it is old enough that the thermostat that we were using to control the air conditioning and the heating wasn’t very efficient. Plus, it’s not cute!! My husband doesn’t see the relevance in this, but the thermostat is right smack in the middle of my Family Gallery Wall in my entryway and it was off-white and just did not fit in. LOL!! That’s really not the reason we changed it out, but I am secretly so glad we did. Haha!!
If you haven’t heard of Nest thermostats, they are so cool. A few of my friends had them and my husband, being the computer man and gadget man that he is, had been wanting to try one out.
You can control your Nest thermostat from your phone and once you get it all worked out, it can save you about 20% a year. So I hope it does!! I’ll keep you posted and let you know what I think. It looks cool and is working great so far.
UPDATE (August 19th) — My husband loves our Nest so much that he went out and bought another one for our upstairs. And while we were eating dinner out on our patio tonight he noticed that the air conditioner had kicked on and was so excited to go into the app on his smartphone and turn the air off from his phone. I have to admit that IS pretty cool!!
And if you are thinking of getting a Nest of your own, here are a couple more reviews from some a couple of my fellow Lowes Creative Idea Bloggers:
You can follow along with Lowe’s on Facebook for more great ideas and sign up for their FREE Creative Ideas Magazine with TONS of great DIY ideas and instructions!!
Have you done anything to make your home more energy efficient?
Let me know in the comments! I’d love more ideas to try in my home!
(Especially after last month’s air conditioning bill!)
Thanks, Lowe’s, for the gift cards to make this project. See my disclosures.
M.B. Grant @ Smart Thermostat Guide says
Whoaa, what a difference! That Nest looks adorable in your photo gallery.
Love the new ceiling, too. We had our popcorn scraped off a couple years ago and it was an INSTANT improvement! Looks great!
The Prudent Homemaker says
This is the second blog post about LEDs that I have read this week (and it’s only Tuesday!). I have been wondering about halogen bulbs and this is the first time I’ve seen someone putting in LEDS for their halogen bulb can lights.
I’m interested, but I want more details. Which LEDS did you use to replace your halogens? Is it as bright as the halogens?
I have no idea which bulbs to look at for replacing ours. Ours last a long time as it is, because we have the lights off most of the time; our halogens have lasted for more than 7 years, even though when I look at the average life of a halogen bulb on Lowe’s website it says 2.5 years when used 3 hours a day. (I don’t think we have ours on that much; maybe an hour a day in summer). So, given that, I wonder how much it would really save us. That’s where I’m wanting more information. Does it save more electricity, or is it just supposed to last longer?
When you say the power company gave you a $20 credit per fixture, do you mean for EACH can light?
I just saw this — this is Mr. Jen. Yes, it was $20 for each can fixture. My opinion, however, is that unless you’re using the lights a lot you may not see much of a cost savings. For example, I have four sitting here in my home office waiting to be installed because I use them frequently and the old fixtures are showing their age (yellowing).
We have used a few different brands, in answer to your question, so it’s hard for me to recommend one over another. You may want to check Lowe’s for product reviews — and, for me, the best LED fixture is one that fits easily in the existing ceiling can.
The nest thermostat sounds really cool. I LOVE your wall arrangement and frames! Did you buy the frames at Lowes? Is the gray and white Chevron behind the “H” fabric or paper?
It’s Mr. Jen again: More information on the frames is in this post (https://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/03/family-picture-gallery-wall-reveal.html) and this post (https://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/03/family-picture-wall-your-questions-answered.html). You can also search the site for “family gallery wall” to see how Jennifer has changed it up for the seasons.
The husband and I are slowly working on getting our house more energy efficient. We actually have someone coming out next week to air seal the attic and blow in extra insulation. We actually have areas in our attic with NO insulation at all – so, so bad!
That’s such a good idea Leslie!! That will really make a difference!!
[email protected] says
I love saving money and being more efficient. I am going to look into Nest! We are looking into an attic fan (they aren’t called that anymore) but it is suppose to be an amazing savings on heating/a/c. Looks great! laura
Do you have a swamp cooler? My 1905 cottage has one – they really do cool down your home. I have been really impressed with the Nest so far.
Thanks for stopping by Laura!