Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tips to make your home green

You don't have to make convert your home to this to take advantage of savings from going green!
Green. You see it and hear about it everywhere these days, and it no longer only denotes the enticing color of money. Environmentally friendly living — be it in the form of hybrid cars, sustainable seafood or pop-can recycling — has spread in our culture like ivy vines on a wall. Among homeowners and buyers, green living is also sprouting rapidly, even as the overall housing market cools, a recent study shows.
The 2007 McGraw-Hill Construction Smart Market Report on Attitudes & Preferences for Remodeling and Buying Green Homes found an expanding market for green homebuilding and renovation. Citing the study, the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) reports that environmentally friendly homes made up 0.3 percent of the construction market in 2005, worth almost $2 billion.

Green renovation, which is also an effective way to save money in the long run, has also growing in popularity. Nearly 40 percent of home remodeling today is being done green, reported the McGraw-Hill study, released in November 2007. The USGBC, which comprises 13,000 member organizations of the building industry, defines a green home as one that “uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste, and is healthier for the people living inside, compared to a standard home.” True green homes contain specific green building elements in at least three of five categories: energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water efficiency, resource efficiency and site management (such as landscaping).
The USGBC recommends eight ways for you to turn your place — and your pockets — a little greener:
Plug air leaksCommon leaks occur around windows, doors and other wall penetrations. Plugging those leaks with weather stripping and caulk can be a simple task for anyone and can reduce your energy bill by $100 or more.
Choose Energy Star appliancesEven if an Energy Star appliance seems costlier at first glance, their high level of energy efficiency could save you more than $50 a year per appliance.
Explore solar energyPhotovoltaics — solar power technology that uses solar cells or solar photovoltaic arrays to convert light from the sun directly into electricity or heat — are increasingly available for residential use. Solar power can be harnessed to create electricity for your home, to heat water, and to improve indoor lighting. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy can help you find the right solar solutions for you.
Reduce water usageInstall aerators — available for a few dollars at your local home supply store — to your sink faucets, and switch to low-flow showerheads and a low-flow toilet. A laundry machine and dishwasher that use less water are also recommended.
Buy low-VOC productsGet your new home off to a fresh start by switching to products that don’t give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Low- or no-VOC products greatly improve your indoor air quality and protect your health. Look for low-VOC paints and cleaning products.
Use wood alternatives or FSC-certified wood productsFor flooring and cabinetry, consider rapidly renewable products such as linoleum, bamboo, recycled-content tile or non-VOC carpet. Choose wood products from sustainably managed forests, such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Plant trees for shade and wind protectionThis simple step can help you save money on heating and air conditioning bills, while providing beautiful views around your home.
Grow native plantsPlant your new yard with native plants and minimize high-maintenance landscaping such as turf grass. Native plants are more likely to thrive with minimal care, unlike exotic plants. That can mean less need for water, fertilizer and pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency has additional information on green landscaping techniques.
Do you have other tips for making your home greener?

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1 comment:

Josh said...

The movement to become sustainable is one of the more important tasks we find ourselves facing. It does me good to see so much discussion on the topic. If anyone is in the market for FSC wood, I have been well-treated by Lewis Lumber. If you are in the market for wood, they are who I recommend.