10 Ways to Go Green at Home
As homes and commercial buildings consume nearly 40% of the energy used in the United States, and the average family can use up to 400 gallons of water every day, its up to the homeowners to take the right steps to help our environment. Taking the time to make small changes and research energy-efficient alternatives can be the first steps in creating a friendlier environment for you and your family. In celebration of Earth Day, here are 10 ways to go green at home:
- Go Digital
Reducing your paper usage is one of the cheapest ways to go green. Use your laptop to enroll in online statements, read the news, submit your taxes, and get e-tickets when traveling. Taking the time to opt out of junk mail lists can be another great way to lessen your footprint and free up some space in your mailbox each week.
- Switch to LED or CFL Lights
These energy-efficient alternatives use up to 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard bulbs. As an added perk, they can knock $30 off your electric bill for each bulb’s lifespan.
- Install Window Awnings or Thermal Shades
Window awnings can contribute to your curb appeal while helping to shade the inside of your home. For year-round protection, thermal shades can be a great purchase to block the sun in the summer and retain heat in the winter.
- Seal Gaps Around Doors and Windows
Proper weather-stripping and caulking around your windows and doors will keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, reducing excess air hvac usage and cutting your energy usage by as much as 25 percent.
- Insulate Your Attic
If your home is letting in outside air, your hvac units will be forced to work harder, expending more energy and increasing monthly bills. Proper insulation should reduce moisture and condensation, which in turn eliminates mold and mildew. Inspecting your attic for cold drafts or mold can be the first step in finding faults in your insulation and improving the temperature inside your home.
- Landscape with Native/Drought-Resistant Plants
Opting for native species that can adapt to your local climate can make your yard easier to maintain and decrease your water usage. A few of the plants we recommend for Georgia lawns are Beautyberry, which can grow up to six feet tall, providing shade in the summer and fall; Silver Palmetto, which is hardy up to 15 degrees and likely to last a long time; and Trumpet Honeysuckle, a hummingbird’s favorite.
- Plant Trees
Planting trees on the southern and western sides of your home can create natural shade and help to offset the carbon emissions from using your AC. If possible, plant a tree near your air-conditioning unit to provide it shade as well and to save up to $250/year on cooling costs.
- Consider an Alternative Roofing Material
Changing your roofing can be a great way to reduce cooling and heating costs. Metal roofs are great for reflecting heat during summer months, clay tiles provide insulation to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and some shingles are made from recycled plastic or rubber.
- Purchase Energy-Efficient Water Appliances
Upgrading you washing machine and dishwasher can help reduce your carbon water footprint as well as lessen your monthly water bill. Another way to save water is to install low flow shower heads, which use less than half the amount of water without compromising water pressure.
- Tune Up/Replace Your HVAC System
Maintaining a clean HVAC system can help lower your utility bill and extend the lifetime of the unit. If your system is more than 10 years old, replacing it can help dehumidify and cleanse the air inside your home. Additionally, newly updated systems are always a great selling point