By SUZETTE FOX
Whether we want to admit it or not, the Earth is currently facing some serious challenges. Fires and droughts are becoming more common, and the ice caps are melting.
If climate change is going to be managed, it’s going to require participation from everyone in society. Below are a few ways you can live green and use your home to help the environment.
Use a Smart Thermostat
If you want to make your home greener, you need to make your home’s heating and cooling system more efficient. One way to do that is to install a smart thermostat. You’ll be able to program the thermostat to only run the heat and air when your family actually needs it.
You’ll also be able to use the Wi-Fi connection to determine if the heat or air is running when you’re not home with a smart phone app. That way if you are away from home and you see that your air is still on you can turn it off instantly. By doing this you can really help save a lot of energy and even save money.
Set a Goal of Energy Independence
Although lowering the amount of energy your home uses is one way to become greener, changing the source for your home’s energy can make an even bigger impact.
Overall, your goal should be moving towards complete energy independence. There are a number of good options out there that are currently on the market. One of the best options is solar.
It’s also a good idea to consider installing a solar water heater. This can help eliminate your dependence on natural gas for heat during the fall and winter.
When it comes to making your home more environmentally friendly, conserving water is key. It is a really good idea to set your sprinklers on a timer so that they only stay on for a brief period of time on days regulated by your municipality.
You also want to make sure that you remember to turn off your sprinklers if you are expecting a lot of rain. There is no sense in using water that you don’t need.
Also, it is important that you never leave the water running while you aren’t using it. When you brush your teeth make sure to turn off the faucet while you are brushing. It may not seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make.
Insulate Your Home
To reach peak energy efficiency, you also need to ensure that the cool air and hot air you produce through your HVAC system stay in your home. The best way to do this is to make sure that your home is properly insulated. By doing this your home won’t have to be heated or cooled as often as it would have otherwise.
Eco-friendly is all the rage and modern homes are no exception. New home construction is capitalizing on homebuyers’ attraction to energy efficiency in numerous ways, and it’s paying off.
Consumers are willing to invest, it turns out, when homes give back and they don’t even cost more out of pocket.
Going Green Inspires Growth
Housing prices are rising and tend to be too steep for first-time buyers, who often find themselves stuck renting for years. Green homes haven’t been subject to this same failing: the market has seen consistent growth, as buyers realize that they can choose homes that offer a huge return on investment while gaining in value.
During the housing downturn, green construction propped up the ailing housing market. Thanks to this early research and development, today’s new homes can be built to energy efficiency certifications as cheaply as to minimum building code. In the single family home market, increased consumer demand has led to the rise of building firms who operate primarily in the green sector. These firms held a 19 percent share in 2014, a number that is expected to double by 2018, while more than half the industry reports doing at least 15 percent of their projects green.
Design Decisions for Building Green
Designing and building a house meant to be green has immense advantages over retrofitting an old home, opening the door for a huge selection of energy efficient technology. This starts from the very beginning with choosing the home’s location and orientation and selecting sustainable building materials and sources.
Heavy-duty insulation will help keep a house at a regulated temperature, reducing energy needs and, subsequently, costs to the homeowner. Coupled with high efficiency HVAC systems, the savings can be enormous. Most homes are also equipped with high-performance windows and doors, another effort to keep air sealed in.
The focus doesn’t end with heating and cooling: eco-friendly choices for plumbing include low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads are small touches that add up to big bucks. On the larger scale, tankless or high-efficiency water heaters are in great demand, thanks to the big savings they provide. For an added boost, some homes add in a heat recovery system, which recycles drain water heat to reduce energy consumption. In today’s market, however, it’s not enough to just save energy: more and more, buyers want their homes to make energy, too.
Again, solar is constantly getting cheaper and more efficient and the high appeal of tax credits for installing panels, homes that give back to the grid are increasingly popular. Designing a house with solar panels in mind is infinitely preferable. Taking panels into consideration from the beginning allows for increased reinforcement to hold heavier weights, enabling the inclusion of more panels. Roof structure and home orientation can also be brought into play, and an early solar consultation will maximize the volume of sun the panels can absorb. Demand for solar has been growing as customers report electricity bills as low as zero dollars, even earning money from producing more energy than they use.
If you want to make a difference for the earth, you’re going to need to start making changes right now to live a green lifestyle in an energy efficient home. Considering these as well as other options for removing your impact on the environment can definitely be a great way to get started. As for me, it comes as no surprise that green technology is doing so well and that it will continue to surge. In the future, your dream home will more than likely be green.
For help with your home, contact Suzette Fox through her website at www.suzettefoxinteriors.com and ‘like’ her on Facebook at facebook.com/SuzetteFoxInteriorDesign.