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While trying to be more environmentally friendly is a commendable goal, a lot of people are wary of making the lifestyle changes it requires. One of the more prominent concerns that people have is the cost required to “go green.” As it turns out, not only can it be affordable to go green, but you can actually profit off of many of the efforts involved. Here are just a few ways that anyone can cash in on environmentally friendly choices. Tax Incentives Any time you can write something off on your taxes, it is always a welcome surprise. However, did you know that by purchasing a solar panel system for generating energy for your home comes with a 30% tax credit that you can use as a tax write off? This federal tax incentive has been extended on through 2021. While you can really save on your taxes using this form of alternative energy, you must act before the end of 2021 to take advantage of this government tax break. Using solar energy can also save you money on your utility costs by supplying energy to your home that you don’t have to get through a service. While most people double up by purchasing energy alongside their solar panels, the panels themselves cut down on how much energy you need to buy elsewhere, and many companies will pay you for the excess energy that your solar panels generate. Trading Cash for Recycling If you have old appliances or scrap metal laying around, then you might be able to turn these items into cold hard cash. Most scrap metal services will pay you for any metal you can bring to them, including old radiators, appliances, electronics, and so on. While most wires can’t be directly recycled due to their rubber coating, there are places you can sell those, as well, where the rubber coating is stripped and recycled separately from the wire inside. Other recycling services will pay for cartons, recyclable plastic containers, and other materials depending on their specialty. Taking advantage of this is great for the planet and also gives you some extra spending money from what otherwise would just have been trash. Energy Savings Going green does more than just earn you cash, however. Eco-friendly lifestyles and behaviors also encourage you to be more efficient with the money that you already have. Replacing energy inefficient appliances, such as your dryer or HVAC system, with energy-efficient models can really help you keep more of your monthly income. This is because energy efficient appliances tend to use less electricity; thus, helping to keep your electric bill at a minimum. Most newer models have been upgraded to meet modern energy efficiency standards, but finding Energy Star rated appliances can take your energy savings one step further. Saving Water Whether you are doing laundry in a water-saving washing machine or flushing a water efficient toilet, the amount of water you save matters. While the earth is composed mostly of water, only less than 3-percent of this water is actually drinkable. The rest of the water is salt water and not suitable to use drinking. So, using water-efficient appliances cuts your water bill down and, at the same time, it helps out everyone else by preventing our planet’s drinking water from being used up to quickly. To take your water conservation a step further, you can invest in a greywater recycling plant that can be installed on your property to treat and reuse non-drinking water, or greywater, for your sprinklers, toilet, and other appliances. While many are wary of the costs of green living, it’s clear that there is more to be gained than lost from making those lifestyle changes. Whether earning cash from recycled items, getting tax incentives from renewable energy solutions, or saving money in utility costs, there are a lot of ways that anyone can gain from protecting the planet. Eco-responsible living is a benefit both to the planet and individuals, and should be highly considered by anyone who wants to live responsibly while making ends meet.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogImproving your home’s energy efficiency not only saves you money, it increases your comfort year-round. These five tips offer durable ways to lower the amount of energy it takes to cool and heat it. Some are do-it-yourself projects, while others require the help of a specialized contractor. Energy Recovery Ventilator These affordable HVAC appliances exchange stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air without increasing energy costs. The energy recovery ventilator (ERV) traps the energy in the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air. ERVs also remove humidity from the incoming air, which lightens the cooling load in the summer. Window Sealing Kits Unless you have thermal or Energy Star windows, you could be losing a good deal of heat to the outdoors during the winter. Clear plastic window sealing kits are available from home centers and online stores. They don’t interfere with the view and block air leaks and thermal transfer to the outdoors. Air Leaks and Ice Dams The air leaks from the ceilings into the attic reduce energy efficiency, and for the most part, they’re easy to seal with caulk and expanding foam. Besides the heated air that escapes into the attic into the winter, air leaks from the ceilings cause ice dams in the winter. Once you’ve sealed the air leakage, check over the integrity of the gutters. If they’re clogged or broken, rain or snowmelt won’t be able to drain quickly, which could also trigger ice dams. Companies like Innovations Siding & Windows can inspect your gutters and siding to make sure your home will withstand the damage that moisture causes to the attic or the envelope. Shade Screens Popular in the southern states for their ability to block solar heat on south- and west-facing windows, shade screens are effective in any climate. Screening materials are available online or at home centers. Some eliminate 90 percent of the heat entering through the glass. They don’t block the view and most homeowners take them down in the fall to take advantage of solar passive heating. Solar Cooking Cooking outdoors with a solar cooker on a hot sunny day requires no fuel. Solar cooking is an inexpensive and effective way to harness the power of the sun to cut energy consumption and produce delicious food. Bottom Line These suggestions will help you deal with the climate unique to this area. They won’t break the bank, and even if you need an expert, are easy to execute and will last for years.
Summer is coming and the sun is shining. But the sun serves as more than just a backdrop for long summer days and vacation memories. Those same solar rays that illuminate your days at the beach and your backyard picnics can also serve to provide energy to your house. Listed below are five ways in which switching to solar energy benefits your lifestyle and your bank account. Energy Savings One of the greatest befits of going solar is the amount of savings incurred on monthly electricity bills. Although savings rates vary by location, most homeowners can see a savings of at least 40% or more on their monthly statements. This savings calculator gives a good estimation of potential savings by city: https://www.energysage.com/solar/calculator. Improve Property Value Solar panels improve not only a home’s utility bill, but also its property value. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkley National Lab, homes with solar panels generally sell at a greater price than those without. Companies like ML Solar have the ability to create personalized design plans to maximize the potential property value increase of each individual home according to size and location. Tax Incentives Home owners who install solar panels are entitled to a federal tax credit under the law. Currently, The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers a 30 percent federal tax credit applied against the tax liability of a residential (Section 25D) property. These savings can be converted into other home improvement projects or applied to a perfect summer vacation. Protect Your Roof Solar panels protect your roof by adding a second layer of protection against the elements. Because the panels are slightly raised, wind and rain help to rid the roof of debris without causing damaging. Installing panels increases the overall life of your roof. Protect the Environment Perhaps the most important aspect of taking your home solar is the fact that you will reduce your carbon footprint. Solar homes protect the environment by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and combating greenhouse gas emissions. Solar energy reduces the toxins that pollute our air and water such as carbon and nitrogen dioxides as well as mercury and particulate dust. Upgrading your home to solar energy is an investment in both your home and your community. With more confidence in your home, and more money in your pocket, you’ll have the ability to increase your enjoyment of your home both this summer as well as the many summers to come.
Luckily for all of us environmentally savvy consumers, designers constantly keep coming with new eco-friendly flooring materials. So now there is a vast of flooring materials we can choose from when decorating our homes. Here is a list of both new and old flooring solutions green homeowners can turn to. Cork Cork is one of the relatively newer flooring materials and is a great option for eco-friendly homes. It is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. A great thing about it is that no trees have to be cut in order to get this material. Bark grows back every three years and that is what makes it a perfect renewable source for flooring materials. Cork flooring has anti-microbial properties which can help you in reducing allergens in your home. It is also fire retardant and it can act as a as a natural insect repellent as well. Because of the many colors you can choose from and its durability, cork is a great option for almost all rooms. Wool Carpet People have been using carpet floorings for quite a long time now. Still, many toxins and volatile organic compounds are used in its production which made it a bad choice for the green homeowners. Luckily, now we can find some eco-friendly options as well. Carpet floors made out of wool are something you can go with. Wool is a natural resource that can be a perfect option for flooring. It can be dyed in any color and then be woven into a carpet. It is very durable and soft to walk on. Reclaimed Hardwood Some of the most beautiful floorings are made out of hardwood. Still, hardwood is not considered an eco-friendly due to the deforestation concerns. But there are the ways you can use hardwood and still make your home eco-friendly. Reclaimed hardwood is a perfect option if you want to do so. Such flooring is made out of wood that has been cut down long, long time ago for some other purposes. Reclaimed hardwood can be a great choice for beach cottages and some older homes. Marble Marble is another great material you can choose. Made out of natural materials, marble tiles can be a perfect option for your bathroom or kitchen. You can also get a marble fireplace which will help you use less electricity and go perfect with your marble flooring. Marble tiles can also be a great solution for outdoor flooring and pool coping. It is quite durable and easy to clean material. Marble will also give your home that natural look you were hoping for. With today’s technology and a designers’ imagination we now have many eco-friendly materials to choose from. But not only that these materials are green but they do not cost much as well. So today environmentally savvy consumers can have a perfectly green home without spending much money. Consider these flooring options and make sure you choose other home features that are nature-friendly as well.