Nirvana! We found a site called Earth Aid, which tracks your utility bills and gives you reward points when your usage falls below the prior year’s. (Extra incentive to unplug your home computer while you're at work!) Trade in reward points for discounts or free merchandise at over 100 participating merchants. Or, if you prefer, Earth Aid will bundle your savings with those of other participants, sell them as carbon credits, and send you the cash. No-brainer.
The site also features a handy list of energy-saving tips geared to your particular location. This will help to lower your usage, which translates to a lower bill (money-savings!) and more rewards (more money-savings!). Other bonuses include information on easy rebates you might be able to earn from your state, for actions such as installing an Energy Star air conditioner. The site even includes tips for replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, with suggestions of where to buy them.
Going green was never so cost-effective. Now, if they’d only send someone over to screw the lightbulbs in...
The Good News
Signing up for the site takes less than two minutes. Just put in your name, address, and log-in information for your electric, gas, and water companies.
The Bad News
It’s still in beta and doesn’t work with all utilities. So, depending where you live, you may or may not be able to use Earth Aid yet.
Why You Should Still Sign Up Now
Earth Aid starts by measuring a baseline year of utility use, which means that the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can start getting rewards. More than that, the program adds utilities democratically: The more people who sign up in a certain area, the faster that that area will be served. Even if service isn't yet available in your neighborhood, you can still earn points for inviting friends and family to Earth Aid and watching them save energy and money. That's why, even if Earth Aid doesn’t have access to your utility’s info today, you should still sign up immediately. The program will measure your usage starting now and do the math once it does gain access to your utility.
The Bottom Line
If you do what's in this Daily, you save:
$30 x 12 = $360/year
If you invested this amount today and earned an 8% return, you would have $7,821 by retirement.**
*Savings distributed in rewards points. The value varies, but we estimate 15 points per dollar. Calculated for a household that reduces its monthly electric bill by 80 kWh. We have also added the electricity bill savings at the estimated cost of $0.25 per kWh in New York City.
**If you are 25 today and retire at age 65. We calculated that number here.