Imagine that we live in a world where each of our homes is powered only by the sun. Our yards are watered only by rain, even when the conditions are dry. Trash is transformed into fertilizer, and this is used to grow our produce. That isn’t a dream that is science fiction. We can do all of that right now. Here is a quick look at some of the things that you can do right now to lessen the impact your home (and you) has on the environment.
Before we get to that though, why does any of this matter? If you have ever paid any attention to Energy.gov, you will know that commercial buildings and our homes are responsible for consuming 40% of all of the energy that is used in this country. Most of that energy is generated by fossil fuels. We waste water in our homes on a daily basis, and the things we use in our homes can pollute the environment; things like animal waste, trash, paint, automobile fluids, pesticides, fertilizers, and other types of pollutants can easily wind up in a storm drain system that then flows into harbors, rivers, and eventually, the ocean. Making sure that your home is green can minimize pollutants and reduce waste all while saving you when it comes to your utility bills.
Heating and Cooling
There are many things that you can do to make sure that your home is heated and cooled efficiently. One of them is to seal any gaps around your doors and windows to make sure that there are no drafts or air leaks. You can also make sure that you home is properly insulated. If you want your HVAC system to run efficiently, you can ensure that you change the filter on a monthly basis. A programmable thermostat would also help. Mostly though, you can be a bit greener and avoid costly air conditioning repair by getting preventive maintenance done of the system at the start of each season. Aside from being more efficient, this can also help save you money on your energy bills.
Go ahead and make the switch from your old fashioned incandescent light bulbs to the more energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs. They only use a quarter of the energy when compared to the incandescent bulbs and they can last much longer. Also, make sure that you always turn the lights out in any room that you are not in. You might even consider installing motion sensors so that the lights come on and go off with the detection of movement (or the lack of it). This is a quick and simple way to make your home as green as possible.
Low Flow Fixtures
There are quite a few different low flow features that you can incorporate into your home if you want to conserve water while lowering your water bill. They include things like toilets, showerheads, and faucets. Many people say that low flow toilets are inconvenient though because you have to clean them more because less water is used with each flush. Manufacturers are listening though and places like American Standard have introduced things like the EverClean surface. This has a silver base and inhibits the growth of mildew, mold, and bacteria so that you don’t need to clean it as frequently.
You can replace your windows with energy efficient versions and this can save you a bit on your energy bills. This is better if you do it when you are building a home though because replacing all of your windows at once can be a bit expensive. If you make the decision to find greener windows for your home, you will need to keep a few things in mind. You will need to have an understanding of the U-factor (thermal transmission), and the ratings for solar heat gain. These ratings are used to measure the amount of heat that is gained in the summer and lost during the colder months. The lower that the ratings are, the more energy efficient these windows will be. If these kinds of ratings are confusing, you don’t need to worry. Energy star has its own rating system for windows just as they do for appliances.