Green Myths, from LED to Solar, May Cost You

Written by Anita Alvarez
Updated September 10, 2015
a house with brick shingles and solar panels
If you can afford the initial investment, solar is a great money-saver. (Photo courtesy of Department of Energy)

For homeowners who want to cut their energy use, it can be hard to tell if green advice is good or goofy. Here are a few green energy myths to help you save some cash.

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Along with proven ways to save energy, there are now green myths floating around the Internet, causing many people to follow unnecessary steps that don't save anything.

The purpose of creating new energy-saving habits is for the greater good. But are all your efforts doing something?

Find out which green myths are a waste of time and learn which ones really save.

Turn off devices, kill energy vampires

Phantom or vampire energy use, one of the most prevalent green myths, does occur with certain electronics and appliances. But you don't need to waste time by unplugging everything you own that plugs into an outlet.

As a rule of thumb, if a device has a clock, indicator light or some sort of function that operates on standby, unplug it or use a power strip for easy shutoff. That will limit energy vampires.

RELATED: Angie’s List Guide to Green Living.

Products labeled "green" bring savings

Don't believe labeling that says a product is green. For real savings, buy products with a certified seal, like:

Energy Star.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Green Seal.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).

A trusted organization known for its safety standards, Underwriters Laboratories, has launched an environmental certification, UL Environment.

RELATED: What is Energy Star?

Beware of solar energy myths

Renewable energy doesn't always pay off. While swapping out your old, energy-hogging furnace for solar will lead to major savings, solar requires a significant investment upfront that not all consumers can afford. Still, you can reap considerable savings by investing in less expensive projects like insulating and air sealing your home.

RELATED: Angie’s List Guide to Solar Panels

You must switch to LEDs or CFLs

While there are lighting options on the market that limit energy consumption, like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), they are generally costly. Lighting manufacturers are working on an innovative energy-efficient alternative, creating incandescent bulbs that meet energy regulations.

Composting is stinky

While composting is an effective way to "green" your home, the smell of composting often holds consumers back from going forward with this tip. Composting limits waste and creates a viable fertilizer, and when it's done right, shouldn't smell.

The keys are getting the right balance of carbon materials and waste, turning the compost weekly and using only plant-based materials (not animal-based foods like dairy or meat).

RELATED: Crap! How do I make compost?

Fireplaces are wasteful

While it's true that fireplaces can suck a lot heat from a room right up the chimney, using it the right way can limit heat loss. With the right insert in place, you can prevent the inevitable heat loss and keep more heat inside your home.

In addition, always shut the damper when the fireplace isn't in use. When you start a fire, lower the room's temperature and open a nearby window to limit heat loss.

RELATED: Wood-burning stoves still provide cozy comfort.

Even though green myths like these abound, don't stop trying to save energy and lower your utility bills. For expert advice and to find real savings, contact an energy-efficiency expert and consider getting a home energy audit through the Angie's List community.

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