How to Ensure Your Home is Green
While green construction and home renovation is projected to be an industry worth $17 billion by 2016, there are great benefits to be had for consumers looking to save on utility costs through smart home improvements. Below we have provided you with five ways of making sure your home is green:
Have an expert perform a home energy assessment
A home energy assessment will evaluate how all areas in your home compare for energy consumption in comparison to similar-sized homes in your area. The energy assessor will prepare a personal guide that outlines areas for improvement and suggests ways for improving your home energy consumption. For example, if your windows are letting the draft come through, an advisor might suggest caulking or weather-stripping the windows to tighten the seal and reduce potential leaks. The energy assessment can serve as your home renovation guide by identifying which green home improvements will have the largest return on investment. If you’re on a budget, ask the expert for budget-friendly recommendations. Even minor home improvements (like caulking the windows) can increase your comfort and reduce bills.
Upgrade your home heating system
On average, Edmonton home heating systems consume two-thirds of home energy. If you have a gas-fired furnace, check the annual fuel utilization efficiency of AFUE, which is usually given as a percentage. The higher the AFUE, the more energy is turned into fuel. A low AFUE indicates that more energy is wasted through the home heating process. If your AFUE is less than 90, consider replacing your furnace with a model that is more energy-efficiency. A model that is within the 90-97 percent AFUE range would be preferred.
Switch to a tankless water heater
After furnaces and water heaters are the biggest energy hogs. Unlike traditional or storage water heaters, which keep hot water on hand 24/7, tankless water heaters heat water only when needed. While tankless water heaters cost more than traditional models, they pay off with long-term savings. Tankless water heaters consume over one-third less energy than storage models. Since these take up less floor space, they will leave you with more room in the basement that can be used for storage.
Water conservation saves money and guards against water shortages. In order to save, try and reduce your water consumption and install appliances that will save water. Low-flow toilets can cut water consumption by as much as 60 percent. Faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads reduce the water flow rate, saving water. Water conservation measures include taking shorter showers, using a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, and collecting water that’s run but not used. Put a bucket in the shower to collect water while you wait for the temperatures to heat up. Use collected water in your garden for watering the plants.
Add a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats conserve energy by heating and cooling your home on a schedule. You can specify settings by day of the week and time of the day, ensuring you aren’t paying to heat or cool an empty house. When properly used, programmable thermostats can lower your utility costs by 10 percent. A large home may need several thermostats to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the house and that you are conserving energy efficiently.
Home heating and cooling costs are projected to keep rising year on year. Any home improvement you can make today will only save you money in the longer run and will leave others paying higher costs.
Help the environment whilst reducing your cost of living and at the same time saving your money. Go that extra mile by becoming more eco aware and ensuring your home is green and energy efficient! You might see some larger investments to start with, but you will soon see great benefits out of your actions. And in the unlikely event you win the lottery you can build your very own green home from the ground up.