Making your home green
Everyone and every building is going green these days, and rightly so because all the efforts go towards energy use reduction. Energy conservation plays a significant role in protecting the climate as well as conserving resources, promoting a healthier environment in general and much cleaner air.
Estimates have it that an average American household uses 10,837-kilowatt hours (kWh) every year. With energy conservation, this amount can significantly go down. It is entirely possible with our green home guide focusing on making your home healthier and greener when building or remodeling.
How To Go Green Without Breaking The Bank
Now, most people believe that going green means a lot of changes made to their homes at an instant and it comes with an enormous financial implication.
What it means is that you should approach it as a one-step-at-a-time kind of project. Don’t go and discard perfectly good appliances all in the name of going green because it amounts to wastefulness which isn’t a lesser of the evils.
The best time to start making green changes around the home should go in hand with the fixtures and replacements that are already needed. For instance, if you have broken down appliances that need replacement then you can replace them with green options.
Other changes that do not take much to incorporate at any time include getting low-flow fixtures installed, and using your HVAC and lighting systems more efficiently.
The Green Home Changes
The list of green changes that you can make in your home is endless. However, some of the green changes that you should adopt and will not cost you much include:
- Installing low-flow or dual flush options when swapping out an old toilet.
- Have an energy audit system within your home to help track energy consumption. Having the system will help you identify where you are losing energy and find greener ways to remedy it.
- Reduce energy bills by getting attic insulation radiant barriers installed.
- Insulate and seal your entire home including crawlspaces, the basement, attic, air ducts, electrical outlets, walls, door trims, the fireplace, and windows. All this will go towards reducing reliance on HVAC systems and ultimately bringing down your energy consumption.
- Incorporate a rooftop garden or green roof to your home.
- Go for double-paned and energy-efficient window models.
- Go for polymer or rubber roofing materials because of their lighter construct and easy maintenance requirements compared to slate roofing.
- Use heat blocking film on windows if you are not about to replace them.
- When working on your roof, ask your contractor for recycled roofing materials if they are available.
- Go for cool-colored roofing materials because they reflect light better to keep heat away from your home.
- Make sure to follow the recommended ENERGY STAR insulation levels when working on roof replacements.
- Use Water Wisely
The earth is blessed with a limitless number of reservoirs of water, but only 1% of them are fit for consumption. It goes without saying that using water wisely is an important part of promoting sustainability of resources.
Some of the ways you can employ the efficient use of water within your house include:
- Going for low-flow fixtures for your bathroom from toilets, shower heads, and faucets, helps to lower water consumption in your bathroom.
- After using water in a bucket or if you have any leftover water from other uses, consider recycling the water instead of pouring it down the drain. For instance, you could use old water left out for pets to water plants.
- Go for a gray water recycling system if you can have it installed.
- Closely monitor your water bill and address any possible leak issues.
- If your local building code allows it, replace your toilets with the compositing models.
- Reduce your water consumption in general by taking shorter showers and baths, limiting unnecessary running of water from taps, and regularly check for as well as fix leaks.
- Light Your Home Efficiently
Residential lighting makes up an estimated 13% of the total electricity consumption in the average home. Personal computers, appliances, and TVs constitute to the rest of the power consumption within a home.
As you can guess, it is entirely possible to reduce your lighting consumption by implementing the following tips significantly:
- Ask about green energy plans from your utility company.
- Place your monitors and computers in sleep mode any time that you are not using them.
- Replace burnt out bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent, halogen and LED bulbs.
- Turn off lights when you leave rooms, and if possible do not switch them on entirely.
- Use power cords or strips to plug in your electronics and turn them off when you are not using the electronics.
- Use appliances sparingly
What would you do without appliances such as food processors, dishwashers, and the washing machine? In essence, these devices help to maintain a smooth flow of everyday tasks within your home. The use of appliances within the home constitutes to the most amount of power consumption.
You can save on energy usage tied to household machines with the following tips:
- Go for Energy-Star rated appliance replacements or when buying new ones.
- To avoid cooling between uses, get your hot water lines insulated.
- Set the freezer between zero to five degrees Fahrenheit and the refrigerator between 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not set your water heater temperature below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure that your refrigerator door gets properly closed after use. Clean out the door gasket to maintain its tight seal.
- Microwaves are 66% more efficient than ovens, and therefore, you should use the microwave more often.
- Wash a full load of laundry at the maximum load size. Also, use the old clothes line drying method as often as possible instead of using the dryer. If you must use your dryer, make sure to clean out the lint filter appropriately to enhance safety and efficiency.
- Dishwashers save on water usage when cleaning dishes compared to washing them by hand. Likewise, wash a full load of dishes for better efficiency.
- Scrape off food from plates instead of pre-rinsing them before washing.
- Go for solar heating or tankless heating systems if possible. Also, make sure to go for models manufactured from 2001 to recently.
- Better Usage of Home HVAC Systems
Your HVAC system is by far the leading consumer of power within your home.
Proper maintenance of HVAC systems can significantly lower your energy costs as well as implementing the following tips:
- Get annual HVAC equipment tune-ups. Also, make sure that the installation of your HVAC equipment is as required. Change your air filters after every three months on the minimum.
- Set your thermostat to only a few degrees lower or higher seasonally, as opposed to cranking it all the way up or down which consumes more energy.
- Go for room air conditioning systems as opposed to cooling systems for the entire home, while there are certain areas in your home that you don’t make use of regularly. Likewise, go for small room heaters for use in specific rooms within your home. Window fans and ceiling fans are good options for low-energy cooling.
- Use windows to let in fresh flowing cold air when possible during the summer.
- Landscaping The Green Way
There isn’t a better place to go green than outdoors. For instance, you can go for climate appropriate, native, and drought-tolerant plant species to include in your landscaping. Group outdoor plants according to watering needs, and water at night or early in the morning to avoid evaporation. Plant a tree or as many trees as you possibly can in your yard. Use rainwater for your outdoor plants, get plants in biodegradable pots, and plant according to the season. Use natural fertilizers and bug sprays.
There are a lot more things that you can do to go green within your home. For instance, you could also recycle water when possible, go for reusable products, and avoid using aerosol products. All in all, our green home guide should get you started towards incorporating green changes in your home.