How to Turn Your Home into a Green Home

A green home is a term used for an energy efficient home. Newly built homes have more energy efficiency than there older counterparts but still leave a lot of room for improvement. Just by adding a few energy efficient items to your home can save energy and money. While some of these ideas are expensive, some are relatively cheap and the savings can be in the hundreds of dollars over a few years time.

Lighting

Lighting your home with costly incandescent bulbs not only costs money through your electric bill; they also need to be replaced frequently. Replacing all of your old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient CFL’s can save you a fortune in energy costs. CFL stands for compact florescent lighting. These bulbs fit conventional light sockets. They use less power by reducing wattage. While a typical 60-watt bulb uses all 60 watts, a CFL bulb uses about 14 watts and produces the same amount of candlepower. Not only do you save money on reduced wattage, you also will save money on the need to replace bulbs. CFL’s last almost twice as long as their incandescent counterparts.

Replacing high wattage lighting fixtures with lower powered fixtures, you can also save more power. A simple pull chain light in a closet uses about 60 watts a bulb. Replace the fixture with a small florescent four-foot bulb and fixture and you can cut your energy use by half and brighten your room at the same time! A 40-watt florescent will produce almost as much candlepower as a 60 watt incandescent.

Another great lighting innovation is the LED light. It uses a cluster of small LED lights. LED stands for light emitting diode. These are a little more costly than a florescent bulb but use about half the power a florescent would use without sacrificing candlepower. Search around your local home improvement center or hardware store for good deals on these great energy savers.

Insulation

Insulating an older home is critical to conserving energy through winter and summer month’s extreme heat and cold. Check your attic for the depth of your insulation. It should be about 12 inches deep for the maximum R-factor. R-factor stands for resistance. What it means is how resistant heat is to flowing through the product. For instance, drywall has an R-factor of .05, plywood is about a four and insulations are rated accordingly.

You can call a professional insulation company to get a free estimate on the R-factor of your attic insulation. Some electric companies provide free inspections for the R-value of your home and can give you advice as to what you can insulate in your home to provide better energy savings. Simply caulking around doors and windows can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. Replacing worn or damaged thresholds around doors can really make a difference when heating and cooling your home.

Window Treatments

Window treatments can help save energy and make your home greener by shading out the suns heat and keeping cool air in your home during summer, and in the winter can trap warm air inside your home. Simple window tinting accomplishes this very easily. Special tints that have high R-values are available at your local home improvement center or hardware stores. You can also save energy by installing heat reflective blinds if you live in areas where you require a lot of cooling. Closing these shades during the hot part of the day can save you hundreds of dollars over several years.

While these tips alone may save a few dollars a year, combined together, they can save hundreds of dollars. Most importantly, they save energy. In turn, this saves coal from being burnt in the power plant and helps to save our planet. Saving money and saving the planet can go hand in hand.

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