4 Fun and Useful Energy-Saving Projects

A super-cool laundry-drying rack and 3 more projects take your energy-saving efforts to the next level.

Sure, sealing air leaks,  and adding insulation, are great ways to boost your home’s efficiency. But if you’ve been there, done that, check out these four easy-to-make projects. Each has an energy savings benefit

And, unlike those drafty windows you fixed, these projects are fun to brag about.

DIY Laundry Drying Racks

Drying rack | Saving Energy Ideas

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. She simply used PVC piping and drawer slides. 

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

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 energy efficiency

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: Save Money and Water with a Rain Barrel

DIY Air Conditioner

desertsun02

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

Deirdre Sullivan bio photo

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+, Twitter, and Pinterest.