Green practices are a lifestyle choice and there’s no better way to get started with these practices, than to be prepared before even moving into a home. Here are a few simple steps homebuyers can take to make their home more environmentally friendly:
- Install energy efficient appliances. Did you know that the average home causes more air pollution than the average car? This is because the energy that powers homes is generated by power plants. By installing energy efficient appliances the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that we would decrease the demand for electricity by the equivalent of 25 large power plants!
- Conduct an energy audit of the home. Conducting a do-it-yourself home energy assessment is easy. With a simple walk-through, mark down each area inspected and the problems found. Keeping a checklist will help you prioritize the changes needed in order to make the home more energy efficient.
- Optimize the water heater. Cut down the water heater costs in just two simple steps. First, install an insulative jacket around the hot water heater and insulate the pipes. Insulative jackets cost between $10 and $20, plus pipe insulation is less than a buck for up to six feet. Secondly, turn the temperature on the water heater down to 120 degrees.
- Check the insulation. Protect the home against heat loss. Check every inch of your attic for areas with little or no insulation. Even the smallest area with damaged or no insulation will limit the effectiveness of containing the heat inside the home.
- Program the thermostats. Save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs by simply setting the thermostat back at times when no one is in the home or everyone is sleeping. It’s as simple as programming the thermostat to 78 degrees F or higher in the summer and 62 degrees F or lower in the winter.
- Plug air leaks. Air leaks are the greatest energy waster in the home, but they can be simple to plug. Installing weatherstripping and caulk will eliminate drafts around your windows, doors and electrical outlets, not to mention improve the overall comfort for those living in the home.
- Request a Blower Door Test. Determine the main sources for energy loss in the home with a Blower Door Test. Hiring a certified Home Energy Rater (HERS) will help you determine what areas of the home need improved beyond simply plugging air leaks.
- Low flow shower-heads. Low-flow shower-heads limit the water flow, but do not sacrifice water pressure. An efficient shower-head is easy to install, most simply screw on, and saves money.
- Install a clothesline. Drying laundry outdoors is an easy way to conserve energy. Installing an outdoor clothesline is easy and requires very little time and effort.
- Plant some trees. Properly placed trees and shrubs will block the wind and in the long run reduce your heating costs by 20%. Trees are also great for the environment and create a natural habitat for local birds around your home.
Do you have any green practices you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!!!!