Home In Bay Area

Home Improvement

Tag Archive: Green

Green Homes

solar panel
Image by Marufish

 

Britain’s homes account for around 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions, a major cause of climate change. Domestic energy improvement targets of 20% between 2010 and 2020 have been suggested by the UK government.

All new homes are required to have a Code rating under the new Code for Sustainable Homes. The scheme was introduced in 2007 to encourage greener development in the home building industry. A Code rating and certificate must now be included in the Home Information Pack when selling a property. Green homes are significantly more costly to build, but home owners will reap the benefits of more efficient energy usage in years to come.

Ed Miliband announced plans earlier this year to offer “green loans” to home owners wishing to improve upon the energy efficiency of their already built home. The costs of items such as insulation and solar panels will be included in a loan which will stay attached to the house, owing to their high initial outlay. This would hopefully lessen financial barriers and encourage people to consider greener energy.

Renewable energy technologies attempt to reduce your homes CO2 emissions, control the overall impact on the environment and lessen the effects of climate change. Wind turbines, solar panels and biomass heaters offer a viable alternative to dwindling fossil fuels. You can reduce waste and avoid environmental degradation through recycling. You can save enough energy to power a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours just by recycling just a single glass bottle.

After the initial outlay, you could be rewarded financially for your investment. You are effectively buying energy at today’s lower prices to avoid the high costs that home owners will be faced with in years to come. If your resources are producing sufficient energy, you may also be able to put energy back into the national grid, and receive a wage in the process. Taxpayers will benefit from the reduced landfill costs allowed by recycling.

Various government grants can be obtained if you wish to go green.

8 Thrifty Home Improvements that Save Energy

green-energy-eco-home

The upgrades and improvements you make on your home today can result in some pretty fabulous long-term savings, provided you do a little planning ahead of time. By making changes that will allow your home to utilize energy more efficiently, your redesign can save you some green and let you live “greener”, too.   

Before you begin working, an energy audit can show you where in the house your money should be allocated. According to Texas electricity providers, by performing an energy audit on your home and making improvements accordingly, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills each month.

Here are eight simple steps to get you started:

Insulation and Weather Stripping

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is making sure there aren’t leaks around the doors and windows. Leaks can also be found in the attic and basement. Before thinking about insulating the home, you need to check for leaks and use weather stripping. Otherwise, any energy-efficiency measures will not work. Next, you should insulate the walls as well as in the attic. Much of the heating and cooling escapes a home that isn’t insulated.

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

According to Energy.gov, energy-efficient bulbs use twenty-five to eighty percent less energy than traditional bulbs. They can also last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional bulbs. While they may cost a bit more at purchase, over the life of the bulb, it brings in more energy savings.

Upgrade the Dishwasher

Older model dishwashers manufactured before 1994 can waste up to 10 gallons more water than newer dishwashers. According to Energy Star, a new dishwasher can save you over $35 a year on utility bills. Reducing water usage and using less energy will have the added benefit of reducing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment. Consumer Reports has a list of the best dishwashers to save energy and money.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s no reason to run your heater or air conditioning when you’re not home, yet you can’t leave them off when you’re out of the home either. While you’re at work, you can lower the thermostat then have it raised a half hour before you’re scheduled to get home from work. You can save money by using a programmable thermostat in your home. Some thermostats come with smartphone apps to help you control the temperature in your home too.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Between low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, you can save energy and hot water each year, which is the second highest energy expense in the home according to Energy.gov.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters with tanks of water have to keep that water heated until it’s demanded by the homeowner. That kind of energy use is called standby energy, which can cost you a lot of money in energy each year. A tankless water heater doesn’t have to keep water heated in a tank, so it can save you money each year in energy as well as water costs.

Ceiling Fans

Instead of fiddling with the temperature in the home through the thermostat, purchasing a ceiling fan could be a better option. It’ll save you money on cooling costs each year, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.

Energy Vampires

You can save money on energy and utility costs by finding the energy vampires around your home. Any appliance that uses energy to remain on standby for your use is a vampire. The microwave and coffee pot that keeps the time for you is an energy vampire. DVD and CD players, computers, game systems, televisions and cable boxes are some common vampires. Unplug all these appliances when they’re not in use. You can use power strips to easily turn them on and off when you’re not using them.

Save hundreds per year by upgrading your appliances as well as using low-flow fixtures in the home. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use too. Some of these upgrades and improvements are small but they can give you big savings throughout the year.