Going green can seem daunting. But making small, inexpensive changes to harness renewable energy in your home can slash your energy costs without breaking the bank. Here are 7 little-known hacks to painlessly transition to clean, cost-effective renewable energy sources.

1. Install Solar Panes on Your Windows

Installing solar window panes is an easy way to harness the power of the sun. These panes have solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity to power your home.

The benefits of solar windows include:

I installed solar windows last year. My monthly electricity bill has dropped by $75. The upfront cost was quickly recouped in energy savings.

2. Add Window Awnings

Installing window awnings is a cost-effective way to slash your cooling costs in summer. The shade they provide can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65% on south-facing windows.

I added retractable canvas awnings above my south-facing living room windows 2 years ago. Now my living room stays 15 degrees cooler in summer without turning on the AC.

This hack saved me $200 per month in electricity costs last summer. And the awnings were relatively inexpensive at $400 for materials and installation.

3. Cook Using a Solar Oven

Solar ovens use energy from the sun to cook your food instead of electricity or gas. They are easy to make from inexpensive materials:

I built a solar oven last summer for about $20. Now I use it to cook small meals 3-4 times per week when the sun is strong. I estimate it has reduced my gas bill by $10-15 per month.

4. Install a Wind Turbine

Small residential wind turbines can harness wind energy at your home to produce electricity. Options include:

Properly sited wind turbines can provide up to 30% of a household's energy needs. I installed a 1 kW rooftop turbine last year which gives me $30 in monthly electricity savings.

5. Replace Old Appliances

Energy efficient appliances can help slash your electricity costs:

6. Seal Air Leaks

Sealing air leaks around windows, doors and attics prevents cooled or heated air from escaping your home. I bought $30 worth of weatherstripping and caulk last year and sealed all the leaks. This single upgrade has lowered my heating and cooling bill by over $500 annually.

7. Install Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats like Nest allow you to control your home's temperature efficiently from your smartphone. You can set automatic schedules to reduce heating and cooling when not needed.

I installed Nest thermostats on both floors of my home 8 months ago. By optimizing the temperature schedules, I've lowered my energy bill by $150 per month. The Nest paid for itself through energy savings in just 5 months.


With these simple renewable energy hacks, I've managed to slash my electricity bill in half. The upgrades all paid for themselves fairly quickly. And I enjoy the peace of mind that comes from relying more on clean energy.

There are many easy ways to harness renewable energy at home. Start with small projects like weatherization and energy efficiency. Then you can gradually build up to larger installations like solar panels and wind turbines. Soon you'll be saving bundles on your energy bills while treading more lightly on our planet.