Going “Green” isn’t just for the environmentally aware anymore. Skyrocketing energy costs give homeowners a strong financial motivation to invest in green home products to save some “green”. The U.S. Government estimates that many households could save 20 to 30 percent on their household energy bills by implementing energy efficiency improvements.
Many of the recommended changes are relatively simple, some require nothing more than a slight lifestyle adjustment and even the changes that require an investment offer a high return over the life of the product. To make the biggest impact on your home budget, start by looking at your lifestyle and select products that are frequently used in your home. A few suggestions:
• Install the highest-rated Energy Star appliances within your budget.
• Install programmable thermostats (and program them for your lifestyle)
• Consider installing “zones” in your HVAC system
• Use CFL or LED lighting rather than standard incandescent bulbs.
• Install spray foam insulation rather than fiberglass batting.
• When reroofing, go for gray or white shingles instead of black. Changing roof color can reduce cooling costs by 10 to 30 percent.
• Replace old plumbing fixtures with low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads.
• Purchase high quality, modern energy efficient windows and doors. Look for third-party certification from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
• Install motion controlled outdoor lighting rather than timer controlled
• Air-dry dishes rather than use the heated dry cycle of your dishwasher
• Line-dry clothes, particularly heavy items
• Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use
• Take short showers rather than baths
• Wash full loads of dishes and clothes
• Plug home electronics into power strips and turn off the power strip to avoid having the electronics in an energy-draining stand-by mode
• Lower the temperature on your hot water heater; 120 degrees is usually high enough.
If you have questions about these suggestions or other ways to green up your home or remodeling project, give us a call. We would be happy discuss your options.
BY MARK FOX, RA