You hear the term “Going Green” everywhere as our resources deplete and the cost of living continues to rise. What exactly does it mean to go green?
Reducing reliance on oil-based energy sources and using the methods that emit the least amount of pollutants back into our environment is the largest way that we can to make a difference in the impact we have on our environment.
Recycling is a huge way to begin seeing green! Purchasing only all organic, chemical-free products is another way that many people begin. Planting and rebuilding in a more sustainable mindset keeps us always inventing new ways to use nature surrounding us.
What about going green when it comes to construction of our homes, offices and businesses? A frequent remark we all hear is “Going green will be too much in start up costs and materials.”
Myth: There are so many cost-effective ways to green your home and businesses these days that can actually SAVE you money.
There are several misconceptions about the time and amount of money it takes to implement the green products and services. There are simple beginners steps you can take to introduce going green in your home.
ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND LIGHTING – Start with your choice of lighting fixtures or bulbs. Just changing something so simple as the type of light bulb you use can save you money on your electric bill.
Have you changed your lighting to LED?
You can use Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer, but they contain mercury which is a neurotoxin & is especially dangerous to children & pregnant women. Disposing of them can be complicated.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) is an electronic light source giving off less heat with no UV or IR radiation. This is a instant on lightiing with low energy consumption & compatible with most dimmer controls. LEDs have a higher color rendering, so everything under them looks more vibrant. They deliver optimal light distribution without glare or hotspots. LEDs are environmentally friendly containing no mercury or lead. They also last significantly longer (up to 17 years) than traditional incandescent light fixtures. So they are the most cost-effective lighting source you’ll find.
Power strips, surge protectors, battery backup master cut off switches reduce the amount of electricity your electronics and appliances can use and can prevent a surge of power during an electrical storm or outage. These can save you money and save your home and equipment at the same time.
INSULATION - Insulation is the key to energy efficiency & a warm & safe home. Keeping the warm air out in the summer & keeping the warm air in come winter, the HVAC system is responsible for roughly 45% of all the energy used in the home.
Insulation is green by its very nature because it saves energy. There are so many products on the market now for alternatives to the old conventional fiberglass insulation Products like soybean foam sprayed into walls or shredded denim, hemp or sheeps wool. These other options can save the homeowner money, but can also save the environment.
WINDOWS - You can get many different types of energy efficient windows now in many styles taking away the need to compromise beauty for bucks. Double pane windows are usually seen as the best in energy efficience. Tax credits for energy efficient windows are given for purchasing new windows for an existing home or if you are in the process of building & that can mean the difference between the average windows & the best energy saving windows available. Windows lose and gain heat by conduction, convection, radiation, and air leakage. Always inspect the windows before you pick the ones for you.
HEATING AND AIR – also known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), are all-in-one temperature-maintaining units. These systems can come in electric, gas, dual fuel and other variations. Some are more energy efficient than others. You can choose a electric forced-air system or an air to air heat pump system (also called a ‘minisplit’ system) but is geothermal, no drilling is involved. It’s possibly the most energy efficient electricity-based heating and cooling system. Tax credits are now available for energy efficient homes heating and air systems so take advantage.
The natural gas system is the most common energy efficient system, but isn’t available to everyone. There are many efficient gas based heating systems like Viessman or boilers like Munchkin just to name a couple. But what if you don’t want to install a new HVAC system? Do you have ceiling fans? Do you ventilate by opening and closing windows and regulate the light by using the shades instead of moving the thermostat?
Energy Recovery Ventilators or Heat Recovery Ventilators (ERV or HRV) help provide homeowners with air that is healthier, removes more odors, reduces moisture and indoor pollutants. They take already used heat and moisture from the air that’s exiting the house while mixing it with fresh air entering the house. Dedicated duct work is recommended because because fresh air is delivered to the living room and bedrooms, while stale air is removed from kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. If you don’t have a dedicated duct system ERV/HRV can still be installed.
ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES - Replacing old appliances with new energy efficient ones is a great way to save money & now there are tax credits available for certain appliances as well.
LOW FLOW PLUMBING – There are many options that are simple to change in your home that can be installed for very little upfront costs. Things like faucets, shower heads, washing mashines and dishwashers are all in low flow options now and reduce water usage a great deal.
FINISHES AND FURNISHINGS inside the house have a big impact on home sales. It comes down to health and durability rather than efficiency.
What kind of floors does your home have? Hardwood floors are generally more appealing than carpet or vinyl and are durable, long lasting and easier to clean. Wood cabinets as well as stone or granite manufactured countertops represent clean, healthy work surfaces with beautiful long lasting storage.
THE HOUSE EXTERIOR – Durability and maintenance is a big factor in the exterior of your home. Always check rain gutters and make sure they are clear of debris and that water is running away from the house top to bottom. Rain barrels installed to catch runoff at gutter downspouts is a great way to collect water & can be used to wash the car or water plants and gardens conserving on water.
You can always add insulation to the outside of your house if you are re-siding. It does cost a little more in the beginning, but it can add a lot to your efficient home. Take a look at all of our Boise Home Service Providers to find the one’s you need to get the job done!