Although the green movement and many Earth-friendly messages have made their presence known in the mainstream, there are still homeowners who are unaware of some easy energy and money saving changes they can make to combat both high utility bills and global warming. With a few minor adjustments to one’s home, the savings can really add up (not to mention the benefits of living on a healthier and happier planet). Reducing consumption and recycling are the best ways to be Earth-friendly and make an impact on being green and efficient. Here are 10 easy tips to green your home, put money in your pocket, and create a healthier environment for your family:
1) Appliance Compliance: Appliances that are over 10 years old could be raising your energy bill and draining your wallet. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests replacing any appliances that may be over 10 years old with energy-efficient models that bear their “Energy Star” logo. Compared to standard models, these Energy-Star qualified appliances typically use 10%-50% less energy and water. In an average home, appliance usage encompasses about 18% of the energy bill (with the refrigerator being one of the biggest energy gluttons). Ditching the old refrigerator in your garage could save you almost $150 a year!
2) Check your Temperature: Adjusting your thermostat or using a programmable thermostat can save 10% on your heating and cooling costs. Experts agree that setting your thermostat at 68 degrees during the winter months and 78 degrees in the summer is the best way to reduce energy and costs. During the winter, for each degree your thermostat is set below 68 degrees – you can save 3%-5% on heating costs. And, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in warmer weather can help reduce your energy usage and increase savings.
3) In Hot Water: Lowering the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees is an easy way to save on your energy bill. Experts agree that using insulating jackets around the hot water heater and insulating the pipes are also easy ways to reduce cost.
4) Keep it Flowing: Installing low-flow showerheads and toilets and faucet aerators are great ways to cut water usage costs, without sacrificing water pressure. For an investment of about $15.00, the installation of a low-flow showerhead can save a family of four almost $285.00 per year.
5) Heating and Cooling Maintenance: Keeping your heating and cooling system tuned-up by a professional every two years is the best way to keep it running efficiently with a healthy flow of air circulating in your home. Replacing dirty filters every month will also help keep the unit running efficiently.
6) Light the Way: If you haven’t noticed already, incandescent light bulbs have been phased out and are being replaced by compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs.). Experts say that replacing the five most frequently used light bulbs in your home with CFL bulbs can save you $100.00 per year. (That’s 66% less energy used and CFLs can last up to 10 times longer.)
7) Paint Safety: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be found in conventional paint, and levels can reach 1,000 times the healthy normal level after a room is painted. Solvents, toxic metals and VOCs can cause ozone pollution, smog, and reduced indoor air quality – which can have an adverse effect on the health of those who live in the house. Opt for low or no-VOC paints and finishes to reduce this health hazard. Be sure to look for the Green Seal.
8) Air Leaks: Plugging air leaks with weather stripping or caulk around windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing penetrations, and in the attic floor can be the easiest ways to fix expensive drafts and improve the comfort in your home. Experts agree that air leaks are the number one energy waster in the home.
9) Go Paperless: Save a tree and use less paper by purchasing tree-free 100% post-consumer recycled paper that can be found in items like greeting cards and toilet paper. Other easy ways to save a tree is by removing yourself or your household from junk mail lists. Direct Mail is a resource where this can be done online. According to the Native Forest Network, during the course of this year, every person will receive approximately 560 pieces of junk mail (which totals 4.5 million tons of paper, nationally). Buying unbleached paper products is a healthier alternative to products bleached with chlorine. Bleached products can create harmful by-products such as dioxins that over time can accumulate in the air, water and soil.
Granite Transformations is dedicated to eco-friendly remodeling practices and to making a difference in the way people think about green construction and remodeling. Our Earth-friendly certifications highlight our commitment to green construction. Granite Transformations has recycled glass countertops that are offered in a wide range of colors and styles that make a strong visual statement about our commitment.
Contact us for a free in-home consultation to complete your commitment to having an Earth-friendly home.