Here’s one to start some debate. “Green” means a lot of different things to different people. At the heart of it though, green is about helping protect the environment so that we, and our children, have a healthy, safe, and comfortable place to live.
When we talk about green buildings, we mean buildings that are healthy, durable, and energy efficient. The greenest thing you can do with your home is to make sure it performs as efficiently as possible so that it keeps you healthier, safer, and more comfortable without wasting energy and creating unnecessary pollution. This is before you think about bamboo, recycled tiles, or organic drapes.
The very ambitious can push for a zero energy home . But you can also start out more simply. Here’s a list of five things you can easily do right now to be green and save money on your utility bills:
- Get a home energy assessment and use its recommendations to reduce energy use by at least 25% and as much as 50% or more. The assessment won’t save you anything by itself, but it will identify the right steps, and installing the recommended measures can save you big!
- Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (just three CFL bulbs will save 300 lbs of carbon dioxide and $80.00 a year)
- Adjust your thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat that turns itself down while you’re away and at night. (save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 – $200 a year)
- Buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances (save hundreds of lbs of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars a year)
- Insulate your walls and ceilings (save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $245 a year). Remember, that like a loose fleece in the wind without a shell jacket (or wind blocking membrane) that insulation doesn’t work well without air-sealing.
So make your home a “green home.” It will last longer, cost less to operate and maintain, and as an added benefit, you’ll be more comfortable, too!