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Found 51 results

  1. Is your home ready for a new roof? Replacing your worn or damaged roof not only keeps your head dry but also presents an opportunity to make your home a little greener. Making sustainable and energy efficient decisions for your new roof can lower your carbon footprint and keep a little more money in your wallet. Here are four eco-friendly roof upgrades to consider for your next roof renovation. Choose a Cooler Color If you live in a hot, sunny climate, cooling down your roof can make a big difference in your monthly energy bill. Picking a lighter color that reflects heat and light away from your home is a simple way to make your roof greener that doesn't add any cost to your project. You can also coat your roof in reflective paint or a sheet covering if you don't plan to replace your shingles. Get a Metal Roof Metal is another cool roofing option that's also lightweight and durable. Choosing metal can save a lot of money on roof repair because it lasts many times longer than a shingle roof and requires little to no maintenance. With a combination of energy efficiency, longevity, and an affordable initial cost, metal roofing is an all-around great option. Metal is also highly recyclable and sustainable. Go Natural Do you prefer a more traditional look? Consider a sustainable, natural material like wood, clay, or slate. For homeowners who prefer a classic cottage style, wood shingles are eco-friendly and last as long as their asphalt counterparts. Clay tiles are another natural option that keeps your home cool and provides a Spanish villa vibe. If it's durability you're seeking, you can't go wrong with long-lasting slate. Install Solar Panels One of the most eco-friendly upgrades you can add to your roof is a set of solar panels. Solar panels allow you to generate your own electricity, and some states even pay you for the energy that your panels put back into the grid. If you live in a climate with lots of sun, solar panels can potentially reduce your monthly electricity bill to zero. Is your budget tight? You can still have an eco-friendly roof on a shoestring by making a few simple upgrades. Adding some extra insulation or choosing light grey over black shingles can significantly lower your home's energy consumption at little to no cost. You can also look for grants and tax incentives to lower the cost of your new sustainable roof.
  2. Drinkable water is the Earth’s most precious resource. It is essential to life, but often in short supply. And despite what the steady stream coming from our taps suggests, it is a finite resource. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to limit our water usage, allowing us to build a sustainable future together. But what can you do to help reduce your usage? What adjustments need to happen? What habits need to change? There are countless little things you can do that add up to make a major difference. These three ideas are a good place to start. Fix Leaks If you have leaky plumbing, then you could be wasting gallons and gallons of water every week without even noticing. A drip here and there might not seem like much, but if it’s constant it can add up to a major source of waste. If you can’t fix the leak yourself, contact a plumber to get the issue taken care of. Don’t Let Faucets Run It’s become perfectly normal behavior to let faucets emit a constant stream of water that we only use occasionally during the completion of a task. Take washing dishes, for example. You most likely leave the faucet running not just while you apply the water to the dish, but also while you scrub, while you dry, and while you place the dish on a drying rack. All that time, unused water is needlessly falling down the drain. If you respected water for the precious resource it is, you’d be a lot more careful. Only turn the faucet on for those moments when you actually need the water. This same mindset can be adopted for brushing teeth, washing your face, and so many other activities. Use an Energy-Star Washing Machine Doing laundry accounts for a huge proportion of a household’s water use. You can greatly diminish your usage just by switching to a more efficient machine. Energy efficient washers also use less energy, meaning they’re an overall slam dunk when it comes to environmental responsibility. You should also steer clear of top-loading washers, which tend to use much more water than their front-loading counterparts. Water gives us life, and we should respect it as a resource. If you want to do your part to avoid wasting water, take the aforementioned tips to heart. When it comes to conservation, a little effort goes a long way.
  3. Did you know that the amount of waste generated from construction and demolition is more than double that of household garbage collection? However, you can significantly reduce your next project's carbon footprint by using recyclable materials. Many eco-friendly materials also offer other advantages like exceptional strength and durability. If you're planning to build or remodel, consider these four recyclable materials that can make both your home and the environment stronger. Bamboo Flooring You're probably already familiar with bamboo in things like cooking utensils and bath accessories, but did you know that it's also great for hardwood floors? Bamboo flooring is durable, easy to clean and maintain and can be refinished when it gets worn or damaged. Bamboo is also a highly sustainable crop, and bamboo floor tiles can be recycled into composite bamboo, which is often used for high-traffic areas and outdoor applications like decking. Cork Flooring If bamboo flooring doesn't strike your fancy, how about cork? Soft and comfortable to walk on, cork is an excellent choice for bedrooms and playrooms. Cork is allergy-friendly and easy to clean, which makes it a great alternative to carpet. Plus, it's one of the most eco-friendly flooring materials on the market because it's not only recyclable but also biodegradable and made from renewable resources. Metal Roofing Because of their high value, metals are among the most commonly recycled materials in use today. If you're looking for an eco-friendly roofing option, look no further than metal. A metal roof is easily recyclable, energy efficient and exceptionally durable with a lifespan of up to 70 years. Whether you're building a new home or just remodeling, consider calling your local metal roof installers for a roof that's approved by Mother Nature. Glass Tiles Used in a wide variety of consumer products, glass is another material that's commonly recycled. Despite its fragile reputation, glass can be strong and durable in many applications, including floor and wall tiles. Choosing glass tile for your kitchen backsplash or walk-in shower is a great way to lower your home's carbon footprint and raise its aesthetic appeal. Glass tile is also highly customizable because it can be easily cut into different shapes and sizes. Remember, using recyclable materials is only half the picture when planning an eco-friendly construction project. It's also important to seek out recycled and reclaimed materials whenever possible, and don't forget to choose a waste management company that recycles leftover waste and debris instead of dumping it in a landfill.
  4. Making your home more energy efficient is important for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it significantly reduces your utility bills, and all those monthly savings will be a major boost to your budget. Also, with environmental catastrophe predicted by most climatologists, you can feel good about doing your part to stave off disaster and improve the health of the planet. With so much to gain, striving for energy efficiency is a no-brainer. But how does one go about it? Energy-efficient appliances often spring to mind, but replacing them can be pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of smaller steps you can take to maximize your home efficiency. Here are five ideas. Turn Down the Heat A toasty home can be nice, but it also uses up a town of energy. Get your household in the habit of wearing sweaters in the house, and then turn that thermostat down a few degrees. Before you know it, you’ll be accustomed to the cooler temperature (and the lower utility bills). Replace or Seal Your Windows Old, drafty windows let cold air into your home, which in turn makes your heating system work harder and burn more energy to get the interior air back to the temperature you want. New, energy-efficient windows are the best bet, but sealing currant windows is also a useful step to take. Install LED Light Bulbs Incandescent bulbs, for generations the industry standard, are significantly less efficient than their LED equivalents. To replace the old bulbs with more efficient ones is a cheap, easy way to lower your house’s energy use. Wash Clothes With Cold Water If you use warm water to wash your clothes, then the heating of that water accounts for up to ninety percent of the energy that the machine uses. With a simple flip of a switch, you can make your washer significantly more efficient. If your washing machine is using too much hot water, call a washer and dryer repair company to make sure you aren’t using an unnecessary amount of water. Unplug Chargers Unused chargers use just as much, if not more, electricity as when you have a device connected to them. If you leave your charger plugged into the wall, you are needlessly wasting energy. It can be a tough habit to break, but it does a world of good. Energy efficiency is as good for your bank account as it is for the planet, and can be achieved even without replacing all your appliances. Take the steps mentioned above to make your home as energy efficient as it can be.
  5. Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle not only helps you do your part when it comes to sustainability but it can also save you money. Everyone wins when we take care of our local and global ecosystems. Let’s look at seven ways to remodel your home as more eco-friendly. Water Use While the term eco-friendly usually brings to mind your home’s energy consumption, it also means saving water. First of all, fix any plumbing leaks. Don’t let the faucet run while you brush your teeth or shave. Also, install low-flow faucets, toilets, and shower-heads; these can save tens of thousands gallons of water every year for a family of four. Tankless water heaters also can conserve a great deal of energy, as it heats water as needed rather than maintaining a heated tankful of water. Switch to LED Light Bulbs Not only are LED bulbs energy-efficient, but they also last longer. This means that on top of protecting nature, you’re saving money from the energy bill and the cost of frequently replacing bulbs. They’re also less likely to cause a headache or eye strain compared to fluorescent bulbs, which makes your home more enjoyable to be in. This is one of the easiest things you can do around the house. If you’ve been using fluorescents in the kitchen, get rid of those first thing and consider hanging pendant lights instead for more even lighting and a better overall aesthetic. Install a Solar System A solar roof installation, while expensive upfront, can save you a lot of money in the long run. However, many states and local energy companies have rebate programs to defray the cost. On top of that, once enough people in your neighborhood go solar, you can generate so much energy that you’ll be selling it back to the energy companies. Furthermore, a solar system with a home battery bank can keep your home up and running even when the grid goes down. Solar systems are also used by many who want to make their homes self sustainable and therefore emergency-ready at all times. Consider Wind Power If you live in a very windy area, a wind generator could be a good back-up for your solar system. It can supply your home with the power you need at night or when the skies are overcast. This can be especially effective for those living in areas with high winds, such as those near a coast, in high elevation, or areas with few forests to break up the wind. Wind power is yet another useful energy source for those seeking to get their home off the grid in a sustainable way, creating great energy independence. Implement Organic Gardening Practices Your landscaping is the main feature of your home’s curb appeal. Plant your yard with native plants, adapted to the local environment. They’ll need less water and soil amendments. Use natural and organic products to keep your landscaping vibrant and healthy. Not only is this healthier for the local ecosystems, but it also will allow your plants to grow mor vibrantly and easily than foreign plant types. Use Recycled Products for Remodeling You can use recycled metal, stone, brick, plastic, glass, and wood to remodel your home, inside and out. You can even find insulation made from recycled material, such as old cotton clothing. Recycled materials are not only eco-friendly, but they also add tons of character to your home. Other benefits include sturdier material, as recycled material goes through a compacting system that makes it naturally moisture resistant and strong. Using recycled material can be a serious money-saver as well, especially on big projects. If your roof is in need of replacement, or you’re having a home built house, then using recycled materials for your roof installation can seriously bring down the overall costs. Talk to your local contractors about recycled materials that they might have available or if they’d be willing to order out for them. Look to Hemp and Bamboo Hemp and bamboo products are the latest things for an eco-friendly home. These are organic and sustainably produced, and can be transformed into flooring, wall coverings, fabrics, and a lot more. For example, one of the hottest building materials right now is “hempcrete”. It’s good for non-weight bearing walls, it’s easier to work with compared to traditional concrete and it also has insulating properties. There are a variety of materials that nature provides for us to make our homes beautiful without being a danger to the ecosystem. Aim for more natural themes in your home and do some research to find what materials work best for your home projects. With a little effort and some creative thinking, you can find ways to make every part of your home more eco-friendly and sustainable for the environment
  6. One of the first expenses that new homeowners incur is their energy bills. Unless the house has just been built, there are usually several ways to reduce energy costs. And, even if owners do live in a new residence, there are measures that they can take to minimize their energy bills, some of which are quite simple. The solution is not just turning out lights in rooms that are not in use. Idle Electronics For one thing, there is a great amount of electricity used by idle electronics. Many people leave their computers, phones, and other devices on when they could shut them off and conserve much energy. For, the electricity consumed by idle electronics in the United States is equivalent to the electricity generated by as many as 50 power plants. This idle time costs households from $165-400 per year. Using power strips for the electronics can save money when owners turn off the strips that end idle time. Repairs to the Home Often the benefits of heating and air conditioning systems are minimalized by several areas of the home. Doors and windows can allow drafts if not sealed well as together windows and doors account for 20-25% of energy loss. The addition of storm windows is helpful in reducing energy costs. Repairing ceilings, wall vents and floors, too, can eliminate nearly 30% of energy loss. Closing off wall outlets not in use also helps reduce about 10% of air leaks. In addition, replacing old heating and air conditioning systems with a heat pump reduces the energy usage and expense in a home because heat pumps transfer heat from one site to another. For instance, it uses the outside air to produce cool temperatures inside and vice versa. Thus, a heat pump is capable of both heating and cooling the interior of a home. Ductwork and Roof Repair Another important repair that can be made to conserve energy is on the ductwork of the home. This ductwork should be well-insulated as should other areas such as exterior and interior walls, floors above crawl spaces, attics, cathedral ceilings and the roof. Windows need to be caulked and sealed as do doors. Of course, roof repair is essential to containing heat in cold weather since heat rises. A well-constructed roof also prevents water damage and mold from invading the home. Roofing companies provide many types of asphalt composition shingles, stone-coated steel and metal roofs.
  7. Pollution and waste have bombarded the planet. We are now tasked with finding effective solutions to help reduce their effects without sacrificing comfort. You are probably at home thinking about how you can help the environment while also lowering your energy bills. Here are 5 repairs to make in your home to help you save money, reduce your environmental impact, and live a greener life. Insulation Weather stripping, caulking, and sealing your home's openings can help you save money and reduce your environmental impact. How? Repairing your home's insulation will maintain the home's temperature. This means less energy consumption, which translates to saving money while reducing your environmental impact. Windows Just like insulation, repairing your home's windows can also help you lower your energy bills while reducing your environmental impact. Cracks and chips on your windows can leak out cool or warm air, causing your HVAC system to continuously operate. This means consuming more energy, which leads to a higher energy bill. Plumbing Water is a natural resource that is quickly depleting. Making necessary maintenance repairs to your plumbing like pump repairs can help reduce your water consumption while also lowering your environmental impact. For instance, a broken water pump can leak significant amounts of valuable water in and around your property, causing both damage and waste. So, to help reduce your environmental impact, consider preventive maintenance repairs to your home's plumbing. Lighting Look up. Do you see that light above you? Is it emitting a lot of heat? If it is, then it may perhaps be an incandescent bulb. Another way to reduce your environmental impact and lower your energy bill is by repairing or replacing the incandescent bulbs around your home with LED lighting. LED bulbs or lighting are more efficient and cost-effective than incandescent bulbs. So, use LED lighting to save money and to save the environment. Appliances Maybe there are a few appliances in your home that are beginning to show their age. Perhaps your washer or dishwasher seems to use more water during a cycle. Maybe your dryer is taking a little longer to dry your clothes. If your appliances are no longer operating efficiently, then having them repaired would be beneficial to help you reduce your energy bills and energy consumption while also lowering your environmental impact. These are only to name 5 repairs to make in your home to help you save money and reduce your environmental impact. Along with these, reuse, recycle, upcycle, and use sustainable materials to do your part in saving the environment.
  8. Setting up solar panels can often be a complicated process especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. However, with enough research and the right resources, you can make the process much simpler. Some things you will need include adequate sun exposure, a credible installer, a cost-benefit analysis, and knowledge about potential issues. Sun Exposure Sun exposure is incredibly important when it comes to solar panels. Essentially, the more sun exposure your panels receive, the more the batteries will charge. Therefore, you will need to take several factors into consideration. For example, is there a lot of shade in your yard from trees? If so, your solar panels may not perform well. Additionally, you will need to consider your environment. Snow cover and clouds can impact the panels because you will need to frequently remove snow from the panels in order for them to function, and clouds can reduce the amount of sun that reaches the panels. Credible Installer Since installing solar panels can often be a complicated process, an electrical installation company can make the process significantly easier for you. Look for a group that specializes in solar panel installation. Consult with them about your home’s unique qualities and challenges. They will be sure to help you utilize your home to save money and time in the future. Cost-Benefit Analysis It is important to do a cost-benefit analysis when considering solar panels. Installing the panels will require an initial investment, which can sometimes be expensive. However, it will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to pay an electricity bill each month. Additionally, you should carefully consider whether you will rent or purchase a solar panel system. When leasing, you may only be able to keep the system for a certain amount of time. Whereas, if you purchase the system outright, it could potentially last for many years to come if you properly maintenance it. Potential Issues It is important to be aware of various issues that could potentially impact your solar panels. For example, excessive heat can negatively impact solar panel performance. Additionally, excessive wind and rain can degrade the panels over time, and tree branches and leaves can sometimes scratch the surface of the panels, which can lower performance. Solar panel systems typically come with warranties; however, it is important to be mindful of these issues so you can get the most out of your system. Overall, there are many things you will need to research before deciding to purchase solar panels. Typically, this is a great investment because solar panels generate renewable energy that doesn’t damage the environment like other power sources. If you are concerned about your carbon footprint and are able to conduct the proper research, you should be able to make a positive investment for your future and the future of the environment.
  9. A house is not just a building - it's a system with inputs and outputs. Maintaining a home takes work, and can generate significant environmental pollution. Environmentally conscious homeowners also face a mismatch between the technology available at the time of their house's construction and what's available now. Fortunately there are many home upgrades that can reduce your house's environmental impact. Water Pollution Water is one of your home's most important inputs and outputs. Whether your water comes from a well or a municipal water supply, you may be concerned with biological hazards, toxins, and excessive hardness in your water. Plus, there's a risk of these pollutants flowing through and affecting not just you but also your downstream environment. In both cases, installing home water treatment systems is a home upgrade that can protect your health, extend the life of your water-using appliances, and reduce the burden on septic systems or municipal water treatment systems. Another benefit is improved taste - staying hydrated with your own tasty tap water is more environmentally friendly than drinking bottled water. If your toilet, washing machine, or dishwasher is nearing the end of its life, choose a more water-efficient replacement. Consider installing low-flow nozzles on sinks and showers. Air Pollution Home heating and indoor air quality are issues whose importance to homeowners has risen in tandem with fuel prices and worries about climate change. There are two major home upgrades that can reduce your home's contribution to air pollution: first, insulating the walls, attic, and foundation of your house, and second, upgrading your heating appliance. Replacing combustion appliances (furnaces, boilers, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, etc.) with electrical heating appliances is ideal; replacing them with more efficient combustion appliances is a close second. But if you pursue these upgrades without first ensuring that your house is properly insulated and air-sealed, you may be throwing your money away. Ground Pollution If you have a yard or a community garden plot, you can use that land as part of your home's waste disposal systems. Upgrade your home by starting a compost pile - diverting your food waste will reduce the strain on our landfills, and by keeping grass clippings and other yard waste out of storm drains, you will also help protect groundwater quality. There are many options for homeowners looking to reduce their environmental impact. To find more information, consult home improvement professionals, national standards organizations, and government resources.
  10. When you are trying to embrace a waste-free lifestyle, you can get overwhelmed by all the information and choices. Luckily, there are some simple tools that can make the transition easier. Reusable Dishes If you are like most people, you probably go through quite a few disposable containers, utensils, and even straws. Avoid that by finding a functional set of reusable plates and utensils that you can carry with you. Look for dishes that are made from sustainably sourced materials like bamboo. Don't stop at your plates, either. Start packing glass containers to bring leftovers home when you eat out. A Composter A large part of what is thrown out can actually be composted safely at home if you know how to get started. Pick a composting system that fits your lifestyle, taking care to find out if there are any restrictions on outdoor compost bins or piles where you live. You can build a nice sized kitchen composter that can even accommodate bones and dairy from a simple plastic bucket and spigot. It will work to start decomposition while giving you copious amounts of free compost tea. Just find a plastic bucket supplier and you are in business. Dish Towels Start paying attention to how many paper towels you toss every day and you will quickly see why reusable dish towels can help decrease your household's trash. There are several ways to go, depending on your personal preferences. Crochet or knitted dishcloths are attractive and durable. They are great for scrubbing dishes, but, if you are going to be cleaning up wet spills or cleaning windows, you'll probably want terry or flannel dishcloths instead. Bulk Soaps This may seem like a silly thing, but just take a moment to think about how much waste is in every single bottle of body wash or cleanser that you use, and you'll see why it is actually important. You can find unwrapped bars of soap at many health and natural food stores and farmer's markets. If you are feeling crafty, try your hand at a DIY soap recipe. There are plenty of choices to meet the condition of your skin and hair, and most use commonly available ingredients you might already have on hand. Maximize Your Impact When shopping for any products, look for durable items that will last in minimal packaging to really cut back on what is tossed out. Also, look to repurpose older items before you throw them away.
  11. You have the opportunity to help the environment by upgrading your home and going green. Doing this will also make you feel like a better person and maybe save you money. Consider doing the right thing by conserving the environment and improving your home. Insulate the House Insulating your home doesn't have to be costly since there are plenty of options out there today. Besides this, reduce your carbon footprint and save up to 30% of energy per year. Weatherstripping doors and using eco-friendly caulk for air leaks in window panes, basements and attics are just a couple of simple solutions for greener living. Save money on energy bills by keeping air in. Recycle Often You can teach your family why recycling matters by placing bins in designated areas for a more sustainable home. In addition to this, your kids will learn the value of living by ethical standards. Learn more about which items can be recycled and how to do this by visiting educational websites like Recyclebank. You can also get crafty and repurpose clothing planting pots and more to keep them from filling up landfills. Finding creative solutions to problems can be a fun way to pass the time with family. Add Native Plants Native plants can add natural beauty and value to your home. These also attract butterflies, birds, bees and others. You'll be giving animals nesting areas, shelter, food and a safe place to escape predators. Do your part in saving the earth by making positive contributions to the ecosystem and animal welfare. You might want to consider septic treatment systems that save you money and time, and are more economical to maintain. In fact, you can feel proud of yourself for investing in a genuinely beautiful home and environmental conservation. Natural Paint and Wallpaper Conventional wallpaper and ordinary paint contain synthetic materials and harmful chemicals. Keep your family healthy by choosing products made from natural ingredients. You can even purchase wallpaper made of seagrass. Consider painting the walls with certified eco-friendly or recycled paint for your safety and as a wise sustainability choice. The Global Paint for Charity will use any leftover paint donations you may want to give away for global housing rehabilitation projects. By protecting the earth's natural resources, you'll be protecting yourself, your family and your future. Besides this, feel less guilty for utilizing energy and other valuable resources excessively. Sleep with peace of mind and enjoy your home the right way.
  12. Keeping your home tidy, neat, and clean can be facilitated by removing household junk and waste routinely rather than to keep it sitting around indefinitely. However, waste can build up quickly, so you may want to line up a few tactics for reducing much of the trash that continues to accumulate on a daily basis. Recycle Many communities provide free recycle bins for household use, along with free curb pickup a couple times each month. This is a great way to help protect the environment and get rid of daily throwaways so they don’t stack up in your garage or trash can. You can also recycle old clothing and unused furniture to thrift stores or consignment shops by dropping things off on the designated days. To make some extra cash, recycle worn tires, scrap metal, and collected papers at the local recycling centers. Compost Food scraps, coffee grounds, and biodegradable organics can be used to compost a flower garden or vegetable garden in your backyard. Gather leftovers and sort them according to various composting needs. Layer them as directed in a compost guide to enhance the fertilization and productivity of your outdoor garden areas. Removal For large items you want to dispose of, like a garage full of rapidly-accumulating trash that includes containers, bottles, cans, discarded electronics, broken equipment and appliances, and just about anything else that has been stacked up or boxed for pickup, check into dumpster rental for a week or two. You might be able to share the dumpster space and cost with a neighbor. In addition to daily disposables, renting a dumpster is a great time to clean out the attic, the basement, the garage, and the shed to get rid of things you will never use again. Your home will feel much more open and accessible when you eliminate all the stuff that keeps building up and being ignored or stored in places that can be used for other things of value. Buy Less If you are tossing away too many takeout Styrofoam or plastic containers or getting rid of shoes or clothes you’ve only worn a few times, it may be time to review your budget and start making cuts. Not only will you be able to reduce spending, but you may also be able to reduce waste along with increasing available space and storage areas. No one likes unwanted waste sitting around the house. Consider these ways of reducing trash while enhancing your lifestyle as a bonus.
  13. Many homeowners believe that they have little choice about how much money they must spend on their electric bills. They think that they have limited options because of various common factors that influence energy usage, such as the size of their homes and seasonal temperatures in their geographic locations. Yet, you don’t have to settle for the amount that you see on your average bill every month. A wide variety of technologies exist that can help lower energy costs. Consider the following easy changes that you can make around your home: Lights A home’s lights are typically a huge source of power consumption. People often buy light bulbs that use too much energy and forget to shut off lights when they go to bed or away for work or vacation. You can fix both of these problems with two simple swaps: Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs that use less energy than CFLs. Additionally, invest in light dimmers, timer switches and sunlight sensors. Dimmers can reduce the energy needed to run LED bulbs when you turn down the lights. Timers turn off the lights at a specific preset time. Sunlight sensors automatically switch off bulbs during the day. Outlets A lot of appliances and electronics consume power even when you’re not using them because they’re designed to remain in standby mode. Some devices also have internal clocks backed up by batteries that recharge while in standby. This type of power usage is referred to as a vampire power drain or an electricity leak. To save energy and money, swap out regular surge protectors that you’ve attached to these devices with timer-style ones. Surge protectors that feature timers block access to power after so much time of non-use has passed or at a preset time of day or night. HVAC Some people change thermostat settings based on how they feel at any particular moment. Unnecessary power usage occurs when they forget to re-adjust the settings later. Multiple people in a home manually controlling the thermostat compound the problem. Also, some people use temperature estimates to set their thermostats before leaving home and later discover that the estimates were wrong. To reduce these incidents, swap out your existing thermostat with a smart home temperature-monitoring one that adjusts heating and cooling systems automatically based on both your settings and real-time outdoor temperatures. Pick a thermostat that also offers remote app access so you can make additional adjustments as needed even when you’re not at home. Windows Homeowners often waste energy on cooling costs because they invest in the wrong types of window coverings. To decrease the amount of sunlight and associated heat that enters their homes from windows, many people use curtains. Fabric can absorb heat. It can also block cool air from entering your home. Invest in better options to reflect heat away and maintain air flow. Swap out your existing window coverings with shutters that you can adjust manually or automatically with a timer. Shutters also make it possible for you to reduce electric light usage by illuminating the interior of your home with indirect sunlight. Of course, there are plenty of other less simple swaps you can make in your home to lower energy beyond the four mentioned here. For example, you might replace older appliances in the kitchen or old wiring in the walls with newer, energy-efficient options. Make a list of your ideas and start with the simple ones today. As time and your budget allows, move on to the less simple ones that can provide you with long-term energy savings.
  14. Being more eco-conscious not only will help you do your part towards sustainability but it can also save you money. Here are seven easy ways to make your home a more eco-friendly place. Mindful Water Use A truly eco-friendly home means you need to also save water as well as electricity. First, fix any plumbing leaks. Don’t keep the tap running while you shave or brush your teeth. Also, consider installing a low-flow shower-head; they can save a family of four up to 42,260 gallons of water a year. Maintain Your Cooling and Heating Systems An inefficient air conditioner or furnace can burn up a lot more energy than you realize. Make sure to keep the filters clean, and change them when necessary. For more complex maintenance, a yearly appointment with a reputable AC repair company is a wise investment towards sustainability. Switch to LED Light Bulbs Not only do energy-efficient LED bulbs use less electricity and last longer, but they’re also less likely to trigger eye strain or a headache than fluorescent bulbs. Use Organic and Natural Cleaning Products Harmful cleaning chemicals are not only bad for the environment, but they’re also bad for your health. When you wash them down the drain you’re simply flushing them into the environment and water supply. For most ordinary cleaning, natural and organic products made from vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda can be used effectively. Buy Recycled Products It’s a good thing to purchase recycled products whenever you can. This can be toilet paper and paper towels made from recycled paper, to shopping at thrift stores for lightly used furniture and clothing. Cook Smart It’s easy to cook smart, which contributes to an eco-friendly home. Buy organic and sustainably produced food, it’s not only good for the Earth, but it’s also good for your health. Eat more raw foods; not using the oven or stove will save you energy. And once again, eating raw food is good for your health. Avoid products with excessive plastic packaging; for example, coffee pods contribute tons of plastic waste to the environment. Switch back to a drip coffee maker. Make Your Own Compost Don’t scrape your leftovers and kitchen scraps into the trash, turn them into compost. Learn about composting, and start a backyard compost pile or get a compost bin for your yard. You can make lots of high-quality fertilizer for your garden for free.
  15. Having solar panels installed at your home is a great first step towards being more energy-efficient. It can really help to cut down on your energy costs as well. Here are four of our best tips to help ensure you get the most out of your home solar panels things year. Keep Them Clean This can sound like a very simple feat. However, keeping up with regular maintenance can sometimes be tricky. When it comes to your solar panels, they need to remain clean to work effectively. When debris gets stuck on top of the solar panels, it can prevent them from in-taking the UV light. This will make your panels less effective at manufacturing solar energy. Cut Down Shading Branches For your solar panels to work at their optimal state, you need to have them in the direct sunlight. When your trees mature, the branches will grow further out, and they can create shading over the panels. You should take a look at your shrubbery every few weeks and trim any branches that are shading your panels. This will help to assure they stay effective throughout the day. Ensure They Stay Cool Your solar panels have semiconductors inside of them that transfer the UV rays into usable solar energy. As the semiconductors heat up, they become less efficient at their job. Therefore, it’s important to consider ways to keep your solar panels cool throughout the day. The most effective is to have at least a seven-inch cushion between your roof and the panels. This allows for proper circulation that cools down the panels throughout the daytime. Ensure Your Batteries Are Efficient You can do everything possible to make your solar panels as efficient as can be. However, you must consider where the energy is going. Your system doesn’t use all the solar energy as it’s created by your solar panels. Rather, your system stores unused energy in batteries. If your batteries are outdated or ineffective, it can really wreak havoc on the amount of solar energy that your system maintains for your use. You should be updating your batteries and ensuring they’re just as optimal as your system to get the most out of it. Installing solar panels is a great first step towards being greener. Getting your system to run effectively should be one of your top concerns. The more effective your system is, the less you’ll have to spend on energy costs each month.
  16. There has been a lot of discussion about the climate in recent years, and there is no doubt that doing everything you can to conserve the resources of the planet is the right move. Is it worth it to make the exterior of your home eco-friendly? Yes, it is. It will not only save you a lot of money but will also allow you to contribute towards making this world a better place. Moreover, you can take the opportunity to apply architectural designs that enhance the beauty of your home. The following four tips will help you make your home environmentally friendly. Go for Green Materials There is no better way to make the exterior of your home environmental friendly than by using green materials. What are green materials? These are materials that are, for the most part, renewable. Examples of these are recycled and reclaimed wood. Normally, they are cheap, not toxic, and can be used to conserve energy. You can use these materials to create a deck for your home. There is no better way to spend an evening than feeling the soft breeze of the summer as you admire the wonders of nature in your backyard made from materials that are in harmony with the planet. Upgrade Your Energy System Few things are as eco-friendly as a solar power system. The addition of solar panels to your home will not only allow you to energize every bit of it with a renewable source of energy but also save you a ton of cash on your electricity bill. Of course, while the cost of solar panels have dropped over the years, they can still be a bit pricey. If they are out of your price range, you can opt for energy-efficient lights such as LEDs that emit less heat and reduce the consumption of electricity in your home. Create Natural Soil Why spend money on mulch when you can make your own. Select a small area in your backyard to make a compost pile from food scraps and dead leaves. Turn it often, mix, and after a few months, the components will become a nutrient-rich dark soil mixture. This can be used to grow any vegetation that you want to have in your garden, which will add extra oxygen to the planet. Implement a New Water System Keeping a luscious garden can be more expensive than you think. Instead of using a sprinkler or water hose, you can reclaim the water with a drainage system that takes rainwater from the roof and deliver it to your lawn or backyard. This allows you to enjoy abundant vegetation without an exorbitant water bill. You may also use septic tanks that prevent contaminants in the wastewater from leaking to groundwater. There are endless ways to make your home eco-friendly. Using green materials, upgrading your power, making natural soil, and implementing a new water system are a few approaches you can use to save your hard-earned cash, conserve the planet, and remodel your home. Apply at least one of the strategies discussed and show everybody you know the benefits of going green.
  17. Going green has become a major focus for homeowners. Not only does going green decrease your carbon footprint, but it also saves you green (as in dollars). Below are four ways that today’s modern homeowner can help make their home more eco-friendly. Get an Energy Audit By now, nearly every energy provider offers a free home energy audit. If you haven’t had one yet, call your energy provider and they will send someone out to check your power use, AC service and advise you on how to go green and save energy. Go Native with Your Landscaping One of the latest trends in going green is native landscaping. This type of landscaping is tailored to the natural climate rather than the cookie-cutter style of landscaping reminiscent of the ‘50s. This helps homeowners go green by using little to no pesticides, cultivating the natural foliage, relying mostly on natural rainfall rather than consistently using a sprinkler, and allowing natural plants and flowers to thrive. Water is a precious resource, especially in drier climates, and natural landscaping is an excellent way to go green. Consider Solar Panels While solar panels may not be feasible for every homeowner (depending on the roof layout) it is one of the best ways to go green in your home. Yes, it is an investment. However, you’d be blown away at how much money you can save as well as how much energy. If you’re curious about solar panels, Google has created an ingenious way to check your roof for how many sunlight hours your home received per year called project sunroof. Enter your address and check it out! Get Smart (Home Tech) One of the biggest ways you can decrease your carbon footprint is by letting the latest technology do it for you. Sure, leaving the bathroom light on now and then may not seem like a big deal, but it does solidly increase the size of your home’s carbon footprint (not to mention your energy bill). Smart home tech is specifically designed to help you go green, including turning off lights, controlling the heat and AC, and turning off TVs and radios. Investing in this tech will help you go green and save some green on your energy bill. Going green as a homeowner isn’t just about saving money, it’s about doing your part to be a responsible homeowner and lowering your home’s personal carbon footprint. If every homeowner did their part to be more eco-friendly and have a greener home, imagine the difference that could be made in the overall environment!
  18. Perhaps the most important factor in choosing the insulation for your new home is its ability to reduce energy costs. In the winter, insulation should keep warm air in, and in the summer, it should keep hot air out. Choosing the right insulation can reduce your energy bill by as much as 30 percent. For decades, most homes were constructed using fiberglass insulation; however, fiberglass can cause many health issues. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling, consider an eco-friendly insulation alternative to make your home both comfortable and safe. Consider removing your ceiling insulation and replacing it with one of the following upgraded, eco-friendly options. Recycled Cotton Since cotton is both natural and a renewable resource, it’s among the most eco-friendly insulation options. Scraps from old blue jeans and other used clothing are shredded and produced into heavy batts that fit between your wall studs just like fiberglass insulation. To make cotton insulation non-flammable, it’s treated with a borate solution. Cotton does not contain harmful formaldehyde and does not cause respiratory problems. Likewise, cotton insulation is a natural insect repellent. Cork This option is made from the outer bark of cork trees. It’s free of toxins, renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable. It also helps to deaden noise. Cork is among the most versatile materials, and can be used for a wide variety of products. Although cork has been used for more than a century as a building material, it’s eco-friendly value has only recently become widely known. Cellulose Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper; it’s toxin-free and safe to install. Modern cellulose insulation is often made from recycled newspaper with an added fire retardant, made from a combination of ammonium sulfate and borate. The insulating performance of loose cellulose insulation compares well to other types of affordable insulation. Sheep’s Wool Sheep’s wool is a natural fire retardant, and in recent years, the insulating qualities of sheep’s wool have been applied to home construction. The wool fiber’s outer layers are water-resistant while the inner layers absorb moisture. This insulates your home while preventing condensation within the walls. When you insulate with sheep’s wool, you will save both energy and money in the long run. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to green options for insulating your home. Just do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of each type of insulation to find the one that works best for your home.
  19. Your home’s features and condition play a major role on the impact you make on the planet. Many people assume that they need to make huge, expensive home improvements to create a green living environment. While installing solar panels and a rainwater collection and purification system are some of the many expensive projects that you could invest in, proper home maintenance can have a beneficial impact as well. These are some of the maintenance tasks to complete regularly to create a greener home environment. Schedule HVAC Service Regularly Living without an HVAC service would be miserable for most people. While this system understandably uses a significant amount of energy, it may currently be using more than it needs to. For example, when the system is dirty or developing signs of damage, the equipment may run more frequently or for longer periods of time than it otherwise would. This directly wastes energy and creates pollution in the process. When you schedule regular HVAC maintenance service, the components will be clean so that the system can work efficiently. In addition, developing repair issues can be identified and addressed quickly before they become major issues. Maintain Your Plumbing Features Fresh water is in short supply, so water conservation is a primary concern. In some homes, hidden water leaks waste tons of water before they are identified and repaired. In other homes, a huge leak spews hundreds of gallons of water or more into the home in a very short period of time. While not all leaks can be prevented, you can take steps to prevent some of these issues. For example, you can reduce your water pressure to minimize strain on the pipes. You can also invest in a water softener and reinforce pipe joints. Re-Seal Doors and Windows Periodically Energy loss also occurs through damaged window and door seals. These seals tend to deteriorate rapidly, and they may need to be replaced at least once per year. By doing so, you can keep climate-controlled air in the home and help your HVAC system to work more efficiently. You may also consider installing solar film over your windows for additional benefit. Each of these maintenance tasks should be included in your regular home care schedule. However, it is easy to overlook or delay working on them. Now that you know that they affect your property’s condition as well as your impact on the environment, you can see that these tasks deserve your regular attention.
  20. Going green is a concept that we can all get on board with. However, it can seem difficult to know what practices to do other than your traditional recycling instead of throwing items in the trash. In today’s short article, we’re going to discuss some small eco-friendly changes you can make to your daily living that will have a large impact on the going green initiative. Use Ecological Home Services If you’re a homeowner, it’s likely that you use home service providers for various issues or improvements you want to make to your home. When considering who to hire, you should look into those who practice eco-friendly methods. For example, hire an ecological pest control service that only uses environmentally-friendly treatment methods. This can help to keep pesticides out of your home. It will also ensure that your family doesn’t have any negative reactions to harmful treatment pesticides that other home servicers use. Use Canvas Bags at the Grocery Store We’ve all seen those plastic grocery store bags blowing around in the wind as people tend to not dispose of these bags correctly. When you use canvas bags, you can help to cut done on the number of plastic grocery store bags being produced. In fact, the more people who bring their own canvas bags to the grocery store, the less plastic bags the store will order. These bags carry their own advantages as well. For example, they’re much sturdier than those plastic bags, which makes them great for carrying canned goods and other heavy items. These bags can be used for trips other than to the grocery store as well. Use CFL Light Bulbs Instead of Incandescent As your existing light bulbs die out, it’s time to switch them out for CFL light bulbs. These actually have two main benefits for you. The first is that they last up to 5 years longer than incandescent bulbs. Also, they utilize 70 percent less electricity when running. This is a major difference that can do wonders when it comes to your electric bill. Just imagine how much energy you could save when all the light bulbs in your home are running on 70 percent less power. Going eco-friendly isn’t really a hard thing to do. The difficult part is just understanding the small differences you can do each and every day that translates to the biggest impact. The above are three great ways to get started on your new eco-friendly lifestyle habits.
  21. If you’re looking to save money and energy, small home improvements can help a lot. Choosing to upgrade your home to make it more energy efficient can help you save on your heating and cooling costs. It may even increase the value of your home. Here are the three most important updates to make to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Replace Your Appliances This is probably a more expensive route, but ensuring your home has energy efficient appliances is a good first step. You can start by replacing your old appliances with energy efficient ones when they die. In addition to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators, heating and cooling systems in homes that are over 15 years old may be in need of an upgrade. While you’re upgrading appliances, you may want to think about a programmable thermostat. This can allow you to regulate the temperature within your home, whether you are there or not. Add Insulation You’ll need to decide if the amount of insulation that’s currently in your home is acceptable for the climate you live in or for your personal needs. If your home is poorly insulated, adding an extra layer of insulation can help keep heat inside in the winter or cool down your home in the summer. All this leads to savings in your heating and cooling bills. Replace or Repair Garage Doors The garage is one room in your home that typically isn’t insulated very well. Rooms that are attached to or above the garage can suffer as a result. While you could add some layers of insulation to your garage, if you have garage doors that are not energy efficient, the air will enter through the cracks. This leaves the entire wall your garage doors are on without insulation. Installing or repairing garage doors to ensure they are insulated will ensure your home is more efficient, increase home value, and help regulate the temperature within your home. Energy efficiency in your home is important in ensuring you’re comfortable and not shelling out hundreds of dollars per month in heating and cooling costs. Following these tips will ensure that hot and cold air don’t just escape your home. If you’re not sure where to start with energy efficient home improvements, be sure to consult with a professional contractor. They’ll be able to help you determine what you can do to make your home more efficient and how you should execute the upgrades.
  22. When spring arrives, a new growing season begins. This is a time when you expect your yard’s dormant vegetation to become rejuvenated. Unfortunately, many people are dismayed to realize that their lawn is not as green and healthy as they hoped. If your lawn is patchy, has brown spots or is showing other signs of trouble, you may use some of these tips to revive your lawn and to get the curb appeal that you desire. Kill the Weeds With warm spring temperatures and hydrating rain showers, weeds that were dormant all winter will sprout up quickly. Weeds will crowd out your grass. Eventually, you may have a yard full of weeds rather than healthy grass. You may also have brown or bare spots as a result. There are a few different ways to get rid of weeds. You can pull the weeds out by hand. You can also apply various products to the lawn. For example, some broadleaf weed killers will kill the weeds and not the grass. You may decide to kill all vegetation by applying various household products to the soil. This will give you a blank slate to plant new grass. Aerate the Soil If your lawn is looking generally unhealthy, the reason may be because of compacted soil. Soil has a tendency to become more compact over time because of various weather conditions. When it is firmly compacted, water and fresh air will not be able to reach the plant roots as easily. Professional aeration can loosen the soil and ensure that vegetation roots have access to the fresh air and water that they need for optimal health. Plant Grass Seed or Plugs Regardless of whether you have decided to start from scratch and use lawn installation services for a brand-new lawn or you simply want to fill in some patches of dirt, bringing new grass into your space may be necessary. To determine the right approach, consider your budget as well as the current state of your lawn. It makes sense to kill weeds and prepare the soil through aeration and even fertilization before planting new grass seed or plugs. After you take these steps, remember that regular yard maintenance is required to nurture your lawn back to health and to maintain it in a healthy state. This includes regular mowing and edging, watering and fertilization. If you continue to struggle to achieve the beautiful curb appeal that you desire, using professional lawn care services is an excellent idea.
  23. Living greener can benefit both you and the environment. One of the best ways to adopt an eco-friendlier lifestyle is by making some modifications around your home that will be better for the ecosystem. Here are four tips to turn your home into a safer setting for the planet. Various appliance and utility options will save you long-run costs, make your home more sustainable to maintain, and help the environment. Here are just four options to get you started on improving your home. Switch to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System Some of the best heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to be developed in recent years are designed specifically to save energy. The standards for energy efficiency in HVAC systems in general have been raised, making more modern systems more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. Even with the reduction in energy use, your home’s indoor temperatures and air quality will still be regulated properly with the right system. Many of the top-rated HVAC systems nowadays feature programmable thermostats that can be set to turn on and shut off automatically instead of running continuously and wasting energy. Build with Recyclable Materials If you’re looking for additions to your home or trying to build a new home from scratch, using recyclable materials will put less strain on the planet’s natural resources. CBS News reports that certain homes are made from bricks that consist of glass, clay, and ceramics. Some of the remnants from demolished houses can also be salvaged and used to construct a new home. Recycled steel for the supports are both affordable and eco-friendly, and recycled timber can be used for new floors, cabinets, ceilings, and anywhere that new timber could be used. These recycled materials often are more durable, as well, making them both cheaper to buy and cheaper to maintain, as well as being more environmentally friendly. Install a Domestic Sewage System Human waste that travels through your pipes into a public sewage system may end up being untreated and released into local rivers or lakes or the ocean. To prevent this problem, you can have a domestic treatment tank installed on your property. For domestic use, miniature sewage system plants are installed underground on your property, safely treating and disposing of your home’s wastes. They are cost-effective, as well, as you only need them cleaned every 3-5 years, and otherwise are their own little ecosystem, using natural bacteria to maintain themselves. Use Native Plants to Decorate Your Yard As lawns and gardens are becoming more lavish, more foreign plants are being introduced to environments that they are either ill-suited to or else could dominate. Seeds from non-native plants can spread to the local environment and create harmful competition for the natural plant life in the area. Not only are native plants safer for the surrounding ecosystem, but they also won’t need as many resources to survive, as they are able to draw from the natural environment around them. Native plants are also likelier to have adapted to surviving local pest infestations and won’t require the use of as many pesticides. Overall, using plants that are native to your area is more cost effective and safer for the surrounding ecosystem than bringing in foreign plants. While not all aspects of maintaining the environment can be controlled by individual homeowners, there are some small decisions in the construction and maintenance of your home that can majorly impact the environment for better or worse. With the right modifications, you’ll be able to turn your home into a setting that helps promote more longevity for the earth and your family.
  24. Living in a beautiful historic home may be a dream come true, but this type of living experience can be stressful, expensive and inconvenient in specific ways. For example, unless the home has been recently and thoroughly renovated, it may be generating waste in various ways. This waste may result in higher expenses, environmental concerns and other issues that you understandably want to avoid as much as possible. These are some of the many steps that you may take to reduce waste in your historic home. Schedule HVAC Maintenance Service Maintaining a desirable climate indoors in an older home can consume much more energy than may be required in a newer home with an equivalent size. This can place a considerable amount of strain on your heating and cooling system. Over time, this additional strain may result in equipment damage that creates additional inefficiency. A smart idea is to schedule AC and heating system maintenance annually to erase signs of wear and tear for optimal efficiency. This may reduce energy bills and decrease the environmental impact. Reseal the Doors and Windows Regardless of whether you live in an older or a newer home, seals around doors and windows can deteriorate rapidly. In fact, most homes need new seals every year or two. If you have not resealed your home’s doors and windows recently, now may be the time to do so. In addition to eliminating unnecessary energy waste, it can help you to stay more comfortable indoors by eliminating drafts. This is a simple and affordable project that you may be able to complete on your own. Upgrade the Insulation Another smart way to reduce energy waste and to improve your home’s interior environment is to upgrade insulation. Over time, insulation may deteriorate. It may also become damaged by pests, exposure to water from plumbing leaks and more. Furthermore, insulation that was installed many years ago may not be as effective as new types on the market today. This is a smart, cost-effective to modernize your historic home without impacting its character at all. The charm of a historic home resides in its layout, architectural detail and even quality materials. While you understandably want to modernize your home so that you can reduce or eliminate unnecessary waste, you do not want to impact its gorgeous design elements. Each of these tips may help you to improve your historic home dramatically. However, you should review your home to assess its specific and most pertinent needs before acting.
  25. If you are like most people, your annual home energy cost amounts to a small fortune. However, this is seemingly a necessary expense that you have minimal control over. By taking a closer look at how you use energy at home and how this energy is generated, you may dramatically reduce energy costs on a regular basis. In fact, you may even be able to generate a profit from home energy generation rather than continue to pay expensive utility bills. Reduce Energy Consumption Dramatically The first step to take if you want to improve home energy consumption is to alter how it is used. You can make a few behavioral adjustments, such as by turning all lights off when they are not in use and unplugging appliances and electronics when they are not needed. You can also reduce energy consumption at home by upgrading to a new HVAC system and major appliances that have improved energy efficiency ratings. To promote HVAC system efficiency further, schedule energy-efficient door and window installation services, re-seal doors and windows and upgrade insulation throughout the walls and ceiling. These steps require a substantial financial investment, but the net impact on your finances over time may be positive. Produce Your Own Green Energy When you follow these steps to reduce energy consumption, you may still be responsible for regular energy bills. To potentially eliminate energy costs going forward, produce your own green energy. Solar energy panels are among the most common ideas, but there are other ideas. For example, wind and geothermal energy may be well-suited for your home as well. Because you may have already taken steps to reduce energy consumption, the home-produced energy may completely cover all of your needs at home. This can eliminate the need to pay an energy bill regularly. Your home may produce so much energy that you are able to sell energy to the local utility provider. By doing so, you can actually receive a small amount of income regularly rather than pay a monthly bill. You could continue to struggle with high energy costs for years to come, or you can take action to address this problem directly. While it may require a large financial investment to accomplish each goal outlined here, you will notice that each small step that you take has a positive effect on energy consumption and expenses. Now is a great time to take your first steps to improve your home in these thoughtful ways.