Any small change you can make will contribute to the larger collective of environmentally-consciousness.
Living in a large, beautiful home doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. Rising energy costs and environmental concerns can play a large part in the smooth functioning and comfort of your own cozy residence. Yet, there are several ways to keep costs down and keep the earth in mind, all without compromising on the comfort and livability of your home.
Many construction/building companies use “green” building materials that make your home more energy efficient from the foundation up and wall-to-wall. Companies like Parkview Homes use comprehensive caulk and seal packages, and appliances and fixtures that contribute to greater energy efficiency within your home. They also guarantee that every one of the houses they build will come with a certificate of 100% HERS (Home Energy Rating System) compliance. Look for builders offering similar energy standards of construction in your area.
Install Solar Panels
If you are buying or live in an older home, consider installing solar panels. According to Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost of installing solar panels has dropped by 70% over the last 10 years. In addition to the long-term savings in energy costs, Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can greatly reduce your initial investment costs. On an average, solar panels start paying for their installation costs in about 10 years.
Install A Drip System
For constant gardeners and those who like green lawns, consider installing a drip system for your vegetable patch and sprinkler system for your lawn. Saving Water Partnership, a group of 19 local water utilities who collaborate to provide water conservation programs to their customers, recommends the user of a soaker hose to water your plant roots instead of leaves or the air. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses deliver water close to plant roots. This system is more efficient and healthy for plants as it not only reduces water loss from evaporation, but also keeps the surrounding vegetation dry, thereby reducing fungal diseases in plants.
Replace Energy Hogs
Homeowners often put off purchasing new appliances until the old one completely goes kaput. If you have had an appliance for 10 years or more, consider replacing them with newer, energy-efficient models. All large appliances come with an energy rating that tells you the projected annual energy consumption.
Insulate Your Home
If your home is still single-paned, it’s time to upgrade to double-paned windows. According to experts, if you are living in colder climates, double-paned windows can slash energy consumption by up to 24 percent. Likewise, residents in hotter areas can benefit from up to an 18 percent reduction in summer cooling costs if they install double-paned windows.
From lighting, heating and cooling, to heat-blocking curtains and environmentally-conscious landscaping, suggestions for being earth-friendly and energy-efficient abound. Research your options and speak to experts to find a solution that best suits your home and needs. Any small change that you can make will contribute to the larger collective of environmentally-consciousness.
Meghan Belnap, the author of this article, is a freelance writer from Oklahoma.
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