Saturday, September 7, 2013
Going green is an attractive option for many eco-friendly individuals - however the economic woes that seem to be plaguing a large portion of the developed world are hindering homeowners from making moves towards a more earth friendly home. The stigma that greener home alternatives cost more is really nothing more than a myth. Sure, its true that many earth friendly options cost a bit more up front, but many of them save much more in the long run. When going green is the aim, its all about looking at the big picture - how will this decision impact you five or ten years from now? In the following paragraphs we will look at a few cost effective ways you can go green at home and maybe save some money while you are at it.
Have you ever left your heat on all day just so your house is at a comfortable temperature when you get home from work? Heating (or cooling) an empty house uses a criminal amount of energy and will cost you a pretty penny - yet we still do it, and do it often. Thankfully, there is a way around this now due to one of the new wonders of modern technology - the smart thermostat. For less than $100 dollars anyone can replace their old device with a programmable unit which allows users to choose specific times when they want the house to be at a certain temperature. You can even control some units from your smart phone if plans change. Instead of pumping out heat all day, your thermostat will start to heat up your house just before you begin your commute home to make sure its sitting at comfy temp when you walk in. While you’re at it, set the temperature a few degrees warmer/colder than you’re accustomed to. Every degree of heating or cooling uses a ridiculous amount of energy, so throw on an extra layer! Wearing a sweatshirt has never hurt anyone, especially when you can go green in the process.
The stars are aligning
If you are using old appliances it might be time for an upgrade. Many old washers, dryers and fridges use far more resources than needed - bad for your pocketbook and the environment. Shop for some new units and make sure that they boast the Energy Star certification. Any machine with this label is all but guaranteed to save you money on a yearly basis over your current units. Again, be a forward thinker when it comes to appliances.
Seeing your home under a different light
Probably the easiest (and potentially the cheapest) green investment that one can make in their home is to replace old incandescent light bulbs. While cheap, these bulbs use exponentially more resources and cost upwards of $50 dollars more a year to run than high-efficiency models - that’s $50 a piece! Think about replacing 15 of those incandescents with a much more efficient, longer lasting light emitting diode (LED). It may cost a few more initial dollars, but the fact that LEDs contain no mercury, never get hot and last 10 times longer than other lighting sources is reason enough to make the investment. A set of LED bulbs is cheap, bright and literally lasts for years.
It’s time for an audit
Energy audits are becoming a common procedure for individuals wanting to keep their home airtight and not waste resources. Energy audits simply show where air is getting in or out of your house through a series of infrared scans. This will show homeowners which windows, doors or walls need updating. You may only need to add some caulking to seal up your windows, or the scan may show that your walls are letting in too much heat/cold which means its time for some new insulation. If your walls were constructed with any type of cavity, its easy and generally cheap to have some blown-in insulation inserted! Sealing up your home properly ensures that your heating and cooling units never work harder than they need to.
This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger. When she is not working she likes to travel and do yoga.