Be your neighborhoods eco-friendly epicenter
Green technologies have afforded homeowners the ability to live more comfortably, while saving money and reducing their impact on the planet; however, sustainable products don’t necessarily mean sacrificing luxury. The following options offer you a high standard of living, while reducing your carbon footprint.
1. Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo and select appliance models with a history of reliability. Products of this government-backed program, including home office equipment, appliances and other electronics, prevented the equivalent of 23 million cars’ emissions in 2005 alone, according to ENERGY STAR®. And, a number of today’s energy-efficient products are equipped with the latest technologies that homeowners have come to expect.
2. According to the Department of Energy, sealing certain areas of the home—such as window and door frames and floors—is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve a home’s energy efficiency and increase your comfort. In fact, ENERGY STAR® estimates sealing and insulating can save up to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs—or 10 percent of a homeowner’s total energy bill.
3. Washing clothes in cold water saves energy as well. Nearly 90 percent of energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating the water. By switching to cold water, a household can eliminate more than 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions on a yearly basis.
4. In the summer, the use of a ceiling fan in the counter-clockwise direction creates a “wind-chill” effect making a room feel cooler. In the winter, you can reverse the motor and operate the fan at a low speed in a clockwise direction, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the room.
5. Insulating exposed water pipes reduces heat loss, therefore raising water temperature two to four degrees. This allows homeowners to turn down their hot-water setting and save additional energy.
6. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, water heating accounts for 19 percent of home energy use and 13 percent of the average utility bill. Tankless water heaters operate only when the need for hot water is detected and shut down when the demand for hot water ceases, thereby using less energy—in some cases up to 40 percent less—than traditional tank-style water heaters and produce an endless supply of hot water. Because tankless water heaters heat water as needed, there is no storage tank of hot water to deplete. This means a home can run several successive showers or use multiple hot water appliances simultaneously with no fear of running out of hot water.