Going green is good for the environment and good for the pocketbook. In older homes that are designed poorly with lots of air leakage and inferior insulation as much as 40% of the energy used to heat and cool the home is wasted. If your monthly energy bill is $300, you may be throwing away $120 each month in wasted energy expense. Here are some tips for going green and improving the energy use in your home.
For an older home, it is important to use thermally insulated windows and make sure to check for and fix all air leaks around the windows and doors. Upgrade insulation in the walls and the attic to improve temperature stability in the home.
Smart monitoring systems provide heating and cooling to the home in the areas where it is needed and turn the systems on and off to provide the correct temperature only in rooms that are occupied. The newest technology learns the usage pattern of each room and adjusts the services to that room accordingly. For example, there is no need to heat or cool the whole house when nobody is home.
Make use of the most energy-efficient cooling and heating systems. On-demand hot water systems are much more efficient than having a water heater with a large tank. When choosing appliances pay careful attention to the energy star ratings and the energy consumption.
Use power strips to be able to completely shut down any equipment when it is not being used to avoid wasting energy by equipment that uses phantom power to always been in a ready state to turn on. Use compact fluorescent bulbs in all lighting fixtures. The energy usage of a compact fluorescent light that provides the same illumination as an incandescent bulb is less that one-third, so the savings from using compact fluorescent bulbs is very significant.
Being able to build a new custom home offers many opportunities for going green. One of the most important considerations is the placement of the home on the site and the direction that the rooms are facing. There are plenty of new materials to choose from that improve a home’s energy consumption. The newest solar panels look like roofing tiles and are very attractive.
When possible, make use of recycled materials in the new construction. Adobe walls that are very thick and filled with rammed earth give excellent insulation and can create an attractive southwestern style ranch home.
Landscaping is helpful in controlling the temperature of a home by planting shade trees in the best areas to block the direct sunlight in the summertime. Use deciduous trees and plant them on the western side of the home. The leaves will block the sun during the summertime and during winter the bare branches will let the sunlight come through to warm the house.
It is fun to do your part to help the environment, especially if you save money doing it. A good place to start is to hire a professional energy auditor to inspect your home and make recommendations for improvements.