How to Go Green in 2017
December 19, 2016
Many homeowners think that when they go green it has to be complex and costly. Certainly, for those who are installing solar panels, it's a big project. And re-installing attic insulation could be a major undertaking. But before signing up for the bigger projects, there is a lot that can be done to reduce energy and save money at the same time. The thing is, a Green Energy Plan for the home can start small and slowly gain momentum throughout the year. In fact, the little things are often overlooked just because they are so simple - but everything can contribute to energy savings.
- Turning off lights and/or appliances that aren't in use
- Unplugging chargers, even when they are not charging
- Using recyclable containers when storing leftover food
- Creating a daily "energy plan" for doing dishes/laundry
- Eliminating over usage of devices, television or Internet
Beyond day-to-day routine and energy saving habits, it's important for homeowners to be aware of their energy usage patterns and the potential savings that can be had. It's a conscious approach to creating change, with a view to saving money down the line. And while going green will have some "big picture" effects on the environment, the aim for a typical homeowner is simply cutting costs, and reducing rising utility bills. When ready, there are a variety of energy upgrades and retrofits that can be made to provide long lasting benefits (and great savings) for a homeowner.
Energy Efficient Appliances
The Energy Star® label has become a sign of energy efficiency. And today, many homeowners are specifically choosing Energy Star® appliances. They offer both performance and energy savings.
Improved Home Insulation
With heating and cooling accounting for 50% of a home's energy use, high preforming insulation is vital for improved energy efficiency. Air sealing is equally critical in preventing heat/cool loss.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
These are really the basic principles: reducing unnecessary waste; reusing wherever possible; and recycling materials like glass, metals, and plastic. It's simply a green approach to product use.
Building or renovating, it's key to use eco-friendly products. From building materials, to flooring coverings, to home insulation, renewable materials are best when going green (where possible).
Solar Energy Panels
Simply put, solar energy is natural, clean and renewable. Solar panels could be costly at first, but the substantial energy savings over the long term will make the original investment worthwhile.
With LED lighting coming down in cost, this is a win-win. These lights use far less energy and last far longer than any conventional lighting. This is an ideal green changeover with great savings.
Programmable thermostats are just perfect for controlling the heating and cooling in a home. The HVAC system will be better balanced, and energy usage will be better aligned both day and night.
Enhanced HVAC System
Beyond installing a super high efficiency HVAC system, good maintenance ensures performance that will conserve energy. Importantly, air leakage must be addressed throughout the home.