Make Your Home More Energy and Water Efficient


  • Add insulation in the attic and walls. You can use batts, rolls, or blown-in cellulose.
  • Wrap all water pipes.


  • Install low-flow faucets (1.5 gallons per minute).
  • Install low-flow toilets (1.1 to 1.28 gallons per flush).
  • Install low-flow showerheads (1.6 to 2.0 gallons per minute).


  • Replace all incandescent lighting with LED light bulbs.
  • Use solar tubes to light dark, enclosed, or windowless spaces, such as hallways, closets, and bathrooms. Some solar tube models feature both lights and fans.


  • Replace all single-glazed windows with low-E dual-glazed windows.
  • If window replacement is beyond your budget, install a product such as 3M Thinsulate film on single-glazed windows.


  • When you reroof, use a heat barrier.


  • Install solar fans in the garage and attic to pull out heat on hot days.


  • Replace older appliances—stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer, dryer, water heater—with more energy-efficient models. If it says Energy Star, go for it.
  • Consider installing a tankless gas or electric water heater.
  • If a tankless model is beyond your budget, you can save precious energy by wrapping your water heater tank with a thermal blanket for less than $30.

Landscaping and Irrigation

  • Position landscaping materials to make your home more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Place hedges and trees so that they will provide shade.
  • Avoid large areas of grass or turf.
  • Install plants that are California natives and/or drought tolerant.
  • Use soaking tubes to irrigate where and when necessary, usually about once a week.

This checklist was compiled by Sherri Butterfield on the basis of information that 2016 EverGreen Award recipient Jan Shomaker supplied during two interviews (one conducted in 2012 and the other conducted in 2017) and on a list of suggested upgrades that Jan provided via email. It is not intended to be exhaustive but, rather, to suggest possibilities readers may want to consider when making their own homes more energy and water efficient.