Green Living

Living “green” is an important concept in today’s society. For most people, this means finding a way to have the best lifestyle they can while consciously doing what they can to sustain our environment. When considering a new home, it is important to be aware of the energy-efficient features that you should be looking for that will not only cut down on your own home operating costs, but will also help save the planet.

Home Insulation
Heating and cooling your home can account for up to 70% of your total energy consumption. Make sure that floors, walls, and attics have properly installed insulation. This will help your home have an even temperature in all of the rooms in your home and will reduce your energy cost

Make sure that your home’s windows, doorframes, sills and joints have been properly coated with a sealant or caulk. A good way to see if your windows and frames are leaking is to simply feel around them on a windy day. Another sign of a leak is a spider web- if you have one you have a draft that needs to be repaired. Drafts can be easily corrected with weather-stripping and sweeps for the doors and caulking for the windows.

Look to see if there are any cracks or holes in the heating and cooling duct systems. Duct leakage can be substantial and can result in a loss of up to 20% to 30% of your heating or cooling capacity. Insulating hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF–4ºF. It can also help to reduce drafts, moisture, dust, pollen, and noise. By making sure that your ducts are securely fastened and that joints are sealed with a mastic sealant, you will reduce your energy consumption and improve your home’s comfort.

Water Efficiency
The average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bill. By making just a few simple changes to use water more efficiently, you could save about $170 per year. Doing simple things like checking and repairing dripping faucets and toilet tank leaks can really make a difference in how much water your home uses. Installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up is another great way to save on hundreds or even thousands of gallons of wasted water.

The savings in a new high-efficiency condensing gas furnace may be the best investment you can make. If your home has an old gas furnaces that has a pilot light instead of electronic ignition, it was probably installed prior to 1992 and has an efficiency of about 65% efficient (the least efficient systems today are 80%). Upgrading from an old furnace to a high-efficiency gas furnace not only increases the resale value of an existing home, but can also reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels.

Some appliances use 50% more energy than others to do the same quality job. When looking for appliances, try to buy models that have the lowest EnerGuide rating you can find and ENERGY STAR™ labeled. ENERGY STAR™ clothes washers, for instance, use 35% less energy and 30–50% less water than standard models. ENERGY STAR™ refrigerators and freezers Use 10–20% less energy than standard models and have high efficiency compressors and improved insulation in doors and exterior walls.

Electric lighting can burn up to 25% of the average home energy budget. The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb, which runs at about 60 watts, costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself. Some of the best light bulbs on the market right now use a little as 5 watts. Some great energy efficient choices are fluorescent tubes (30 to 40 watts) compact fluorescent bulbs (15 watts or less) light emitting diode /LED's (5 watts).

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