In our desire to both save money and reduce our energy costs, (with the average home consuming around $2,000 per year) every effort and cost effective change in both lifestyle and property updates can make a huge difference.
Ways to Green up your home:
If your furnace or boiler is over 15 years old, consider replacing it as a newer model is 90% or more efficient. Turn down the heat on your water temperature and maintain the heating & cooling systems. Water lines should be insulated.
Kitchen appliances eat up 30% of energy in at typical home. Your refrigerator will use up to 8% of that. New appliances are more than three times efficient than older models and worth replacing. Unplug secondary fridges and freezers and only run your dishwasher when full.
Your heating and cooling systems represent close to 45% of the total energy costs. Invest in a programmable thermostat so that is can be set cooler in winter and warmer in summer. Close the damper on fireplaces and unplug electronics when not in use. Shut off that power-bar and computer when not using!
Bedrooms typically use 11 per cent of a homeís lighting consumption. Use Compact fluorescent lights in place of incandescent lighting and where not possible install dimmer switches to save on energy costs. Get into the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room.
In the bathrooms, use less water by installing low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads. Try to take shorter, cooler showers as well.
Your roof, wall and ceilings loose up to one-third of the heat produced in your home. Add insulation to improve the R-values to 32 or more. Ceiling fans in summer to stay cool will help and solar hot water systems. If replacing your older windows and doors is not affordable, caulk and weather strip any leaky windows and doors. Another consideration is adding Low-E glazing to storm windows.
The smaller your lawn is also means less watering required. Harsh winter winds can be reduced by planting a windbreak along the windward side of the house and deciduous trees along the south side to help with cooling in summer.
Older styles of homes from different eras come with their own challenges regarding energy-saving. Pre-World War II homes benefit from new improvements as many of the construction materials and techniques used in them are now obsolete. Split-level homes are more prone to air leakage problems especially where the second floor meets the attic of the lower section where the crawl space meets the basement. Bungalows built in the 60ís & 70ís leak air at the ceiling areas.
Every effort taken will save you both in money and unnecessary energy spent. It feels great when we take the steps in helping our planet and going green along the way.
*April Esteves is a proud member of the National Association of Green Agents & Brokers.