Local Green Solutions for Saving Energy (and Money) at Home
25 January 2010 12,202 views 4 Comments
[caption id="attachment_1108" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Graphic by Kostya Kisleyko"][/caption] By Kathleen Deragon How energy efficient is your home and how can you best find out? Have a whole house performance specialist come in and do an energy audit. Because a home auditor is an independent inspection agency and does not sell products or services beyond the home energy inspections, so they are not motivated to sell you anything. They are just providing information to help you make the wisest decisions for your particular situation. However, they can recommend products they have used and in which they have confidence. What might you find out?
- Air leakage is one of the most overlooked sources of energy inefficiency. According to the US Department of Energy, 40% of all your heating and cooling energy is lost through leaks, either in your ductwork or through the house itself.
- You’re losing more air from around your recessed lighting than you are from your windows and doors.
- While a tankless hot water heater can give you unlimited hot water, it may not save you money. There are other efficient water heaters and recirculating pumps systems that may serve you better.
- Cleaning your refrigerator coils and lowering the temperature inside can save you money.
- Adding insulation before you adequately seal an attic or walls reduces the efficiency of the added insulation.
- Air exchangers can enable you to control how and where your house breathes.
- Not all compact fluorescent bulbs are created equal.
- A water catchments system can provide you with gray water or rainwater for watering your garden.
- You can contribute to the air quality in your home by replacing carpet with tile, bamboo, cork, or linoleum floors and using area rugs. If you want carpet, use natural fibers.
- Water quality is not an easy issue. We have hard water here, but is the use of water softeners and purifiers worth the financial and environmental cost? And are chlorine and fluoride safe?
- Green plants improve air quality in a home.
- “Clear storey” windows and solar tubes that add light without adding heat
- Overhangs and awnings that shade windows during the summer
- Outside screens and inside curtains that also keep heat out of the house
- Plants on west-facing walls that can block the sun, reducing home temperatures
- In certain situations, adding tile to the floor or additional wallboard to walls
- to stabilize temperatures, making the house cooler during the day and warmer at night
- Using non-toxic cleaners and clearing out the ones that have accumulated under your sink or in a laundry room
- Using lamps for task lighting
- Opening windows to cool off your living spaces