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4 Fun and Useful Energy-Saving Projects

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Energy efficiency projects

What do you do in your home to save energy? These bloggers had some unusual ideas. Images: Debbie at Me and My DIY, Tricia from the blog Making It Feel Like Home, Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose.com

Sure, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, and swapping out incandescent light bulbs with LEDs are all great ways to boost your home’s efficiency. But if you’ve been there, done that, check out these four easy-to-make blogger projects. Each has an energy savings benefit. And, unlike those drafty windows you fixed, these projects are fun to brag about.

Related: Energy Bills High? Here’s Why — And What to Do About It

DIY Laundry Drying Racks

Drying rack

Credit: Debbie at Me and My DIY

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Laundry dryers account for 6% of the electricity used in the U.S. each year, according to a group that studies dryer efficiencies. That’s roughly the same amount of electricity consumed annually by the state of Massachusetts. 

That’s why we like this flat and compact DIY drying system by Debbie, from Me and My DIY. Although she made the rack inside a built-in wall unit, you can customize the design for a cabinet or even a closet.

See how Debbie built this project using PVC piping and drawer slides here.

Tip: If you’re so inclined, you can calculate how much it costs to run your electric dryer annually.

  • Look up your dryer’s heating element rating in the manual.
  • Multiply the kilowatt rating by your hourly kilowatt cost.
  • Your total is the price you pay per load, per hour. For example: (Dryer’s kw rating) x (price per kwh) = price per load, per hour
  • Now multiple that amount by the number of loads you dry each month. If you pay 70 cents to dry a single load of laundry in one hour, and you dry 20 loads each month, that’s $168 per year, or (20 x .70) x 12 = 168.

DIY Frosted Windows

Frosted window

Credit: Tricia from the blog Making It Feel Like Home

Tricia, from the blog Making It Feel Like Home, used cool frosted contact paper on the small windows by her front door. Although the paper she selected adds privacy, you’ll score a two-fer by using insulating window film instead.

Tip: Some films reduce radiant heat transfer through glass by as much as 50%.

Depending upon the type of film you select and the amount of area covered, you can:

  • Help keep a room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • Cut UV exposure, so furniture fabrics won’t fade.
  • Strengthen windows for added security. 

Window film starts at around $1.50 per square foot.

See how Tricia created this project and where to download the stencil she used here.

DIY Rain Barrel

Rain barrel

Credit: Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose.com

When Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose.com discovered that an inch of rainfall on a 1,000-sq.-ft. roof produces 600 gallons of water, she decided to make two rain barrels. Now she waters her yard and garden for free.

You can see how Rebekah transformed a recycled pepper barrel into her own private water reservoir here.

Tip: A rain barrel will help most homeowners save about 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Related: How NOT to Install a Rain Barrel

DIY Air Conditioner

If you love air conditioning but not scorching electric bills, a homemade air conditioner might be for you.

YouTube vlogger Desertsun02 gets his cool on with a DIY AC that only uses 54 watts of electricity. The system pumps ice water through copper tubing that’s wrapped around the face of fan. So instead of pushing around hot air, the fan generates a cool refreshing breeze.

If you already own a fan and a bucket, this project will cost about $30 and you can put the entire system together in a few hours. Watch how he did it:



Related: Ways to Cool Down This Summer Without Using Your AC

Have a fun and easy energy efficient project that you want to show off? Share it in the comments below.

deirdre-sullivan Deirdre Sullivan

is an NYC-based writer who’s obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She’s a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and InStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw. Follow Deirdre on Google+.

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