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AnitaGinsburg posted a blog entry in Anita Ginsburg's BlogThere are many reasons to make a home more energy efficient. It is the socially responsible thing to do, as scientists across the world continue to warn of the dangers of unfettered energy use. It is also financially responsible, since energy bills can constitute a large hit to a monthly budget, especially during the height of either winter or summer. Taking even small steps to curb that energy usage can have a big impact. Below are some of the updates that will provide the most savings. Double Pane Windows Old windows leak both heat and air conditioning, essentially leaking money. While an upgrade is a fairly large initial investment, it is one that will pay for itself many times over. Not only that, but double pane windows more effectively block traffic noise and raise the overall value of the home, making it a smart long-term investment. For homeowners on a tighter budget, energy efficient window treatments can also provide some of the same benefits at a reduced cost. Roof Replacement Another huge source of temperature leakage is an older roof. In summer, roofs can soak up heat and radiate it down towards the home, and in winter the heat you want can escape through any cracks or faults. If your roof is older, roof replacement can help reduce your overall energy usage. When selecting roofing material, asphalt shingles often do not rate well in regards to energy efficiency. Tiles, metal roofs, and materials treated with special reflective coating all perform better. Insulation is also key, providing savings from the inside out. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs One of the least costly upgrades, new light bulbs, is also one of the most immediately effective. LED bulbs are the clear winner in the energy wars. While a little more expensive than their less efficient cousins, the incandescent bulb, they very quickly result in lowered monthly bills. Moreover, not only do LEDs consume less electricity, but they also last years longer than incandescents, making that investment more than worth it. New Air Conditioner An energy-efficient air conditioner is particularly necessary in warm climates, but will result in savings just about anywhere in the country. This is an upgrade that can save you money at tax time as well—certain units qualify for a federal HVAC tax credit, which starts the savings in April before the really hot weather even rolls around. Choosing to do an energy makeover has long lasting benefits to the wallet, the home's value, and the planet. Nor is it difficult to do. Light bulbs, roofs, AC units, and windows all need replacing eventually anyway—choosing energy efficient replacements is just common sense.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogContrary to what many people believe, making a home eco-friendly doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or expensive process. The average homeowner could actually save quite a bit of money over the years by going green. Here is a look at three simple steps that you can take to make your household as eco-friendly as possible. Cut out the Single-Use Products Single-use plastic products are incredibly bad for the environment, and you might be using dozens of those items every single day without even realizing it. One of the easiest ways to limit your impact on the environment is to remove most of the single-use products from your home. Some of the worst offenders include straws, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, paper coffee cups, single-use water bottles, and plastic bags. While many of those items can be recycled, the recycling process isn’t completely efficient, and some of the materials will never be used again. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs Swapping out your light bulbs might not seem like a significant upgrade, but this simple project could end up saving you a few hundred dollars per year. Older CFL bulbs tend to be very inefficient because much of the energy is turned into heat instead of light. LED bulbs, on the other hand, turn almost all of the electricity into visible light. Replacing all of the older CFL bulbs in your home with LED bulbs is going to have a major impact on your monthly energy bills. You might also want to invest in “smart” LED bulbs that can be controlled with an app. With a single tap of your smartphone screen, you will be able to turn off or dim all of your lights. Install Solar Panels The solar market is growing at an astonishing rate, and more homeowners are investing in solar panel installation every year. From the moment that your solar system is connected, you are going to notice a drop in your energy bills. Depending on where you live and what type of system you have installed, you might even be able to sell excess electricity back to your energy company. These systems have become quite advanced over the last few years, and they work perfectly in most climates. To help homeowners cover the upfront costs, many states offer financing programs to those who connect their solar systems to the electrical grid. In addition to these three tips, you should also make sure that your family sticks to eco-friendly habits around your home. That includes limiting the length of your showers, turning off the lights when you leave a room, and unplugging any electronic devices that aren’t being used.
RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeHomeowners that want to cut back on their energy consumption should start thinking of their house as a complete system instead of individual areas that do not interact with one another. Small changes anywhere in a home will affect its overall efficiency and can make a big difference over the course of their lifetime. Here is a look at 6 upgrades that are sure to lower your utility bills in the coming years. Insulation Older insulation rolls do not have a tight enough fit to perfectly insulate attics, crawlspaces, walls, garages, and basements. Modern spray insulation is often made of green materials such as cellulose, resistant to fire, and much more effective for retaining the home's temperature. Programmable Thermostats A programmable thermostat should be one of the first upgrades a family carries out when it comes to improving their home's efficiency. Newer thermostats give you unprecedented control over your home's temperature and can even be controlled with wireless devices. Furnace Replacements Furnaces that were manufactured before 1992 will often use over 35 percent of their gas just keeping the pilot light on. Newer furnaces are designed to use up gas and electricity only as they are needed. This could lead to an 11 percent drop in utility bills during the colder winter months. Light Bulbs Studies have shown that inefficient light bulbs cost California families over $35.6 million in wasted energy every single year. One simple way to combat this is to begin switching out older light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as they go out. CFLs produce the same amount of light at just a fraction of the cost and have a much longer lifespan. Energy-Efficient Windows Thick curtains will not be enough when it comes to the energy that is lost through windows. Older windows allow an incredible amount of heat to enter and leave a home due to the materials they are made of and ineffective seals. Energy-efficient windows, available from places like Five Star Windows Inc., help to block out UV rays and maintain the indoor temperature. Refrigerator Upgrades Even just three decades ago, most refrigerators were not built with energy efficiency in mind. Modern Energy Star refrigerators, however, have been made to use as little electricity as possible. These devices often consume just $50 worth of energy per year. These six areas upgrades are great options when it comes to cutting down on your carbon footprint while saving some money on utility bills.