No matter what your favorite color might be, we should all be trying to make our homes a little bit more green.
Approximately two thirds of the world’s environmentally-damaging emissions come from commercial and residential buildings. Taking that into account, it seems fairly obvious that one of the best ways to combat global climate change is to take the fight to the home. More specifically, we need to update our homes so that they conserve energy and produce less waste. It’s not as difficult as it sounds; here are seven ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and help save the world.
Geothermal heating/cooling. Normal climate control units use the outside air temperature as an exchange medium. This can be a problem, because when you turn on your heater or air conditioner, it’s usually because the outside temperature isn’t to your liking. This means that you’ll need to use expensive and environmentally-damaging energy to bring the air inside your house to the temperature you desire. Geothermal heating and cooling systems use the relatively constant temperature of the earth to increase climate efficiency, saving you money and decreasing your home’s energy consumption. The system can be expensive and difficult to install, but you’ll be able to earn back the money you spend within a few years from what you’ll save on power bills.
Solar paneling. The sun is one of the only clean, free, and (for all intents and purposes) unlimited energy sources that we have available today. To make use of it, all you have to do is purchase some solar panels and hook them up to your power grid. As the sun shines down onto them, they convert the heat and light into useable electricity. Some proponents of solar electricity have even been able to sell surplus energy back to the city, not only reducing their carbon footprints, but making money in the process.
Wind turbines. Wind is another clean energy source that the modern homeowner should consider. To turn wind into usable energy, a wind turbine is needed. When the wind blows, it rotates the turbine’s blades, which in turn rotates a shaft. The shaft’s energy is converted to electricity by a generator and used to offset regular electrical costs.
LED Lighting. Conventional light bulbs need to be replaced after approximately 5,000 hours of operation. Fluorescent bulbs generally last about twice as long. However, for true energy efficiency, you’re going to want to go with LEDs. LED bulbs have an operational life of 100,000 hours, or 11 years of continuous use. In addition to cutting down on waste, LEDs are much more energy efficient than conventional bulbs. Regular light bulbs generally convert only 20% of their electrical energy into light, with the remaining 80% being lost as heat. LEDs flip those number, converting 80% of the electrical energy into light.
Low flow fixtures and rainwater capture. To make water safe for human consumption and use, it needs to be put through a treatment process. This requires significant amounts of energy. Cutting back on water use, or finding other sources of fresh home water, results in less wasted energy. Low flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads cut back on how much water is used every day, without forcing a noticeable change in lifestyle. Additionally, rainwater that is collected and stored can be used to flush toilets, wash clothing, and water gardens and lawns.
Structural insulated panel construction. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) consist of an insulating foam center between two structural facings. Not only are these panels easier than traditional lumber framing and and fiberglass insulation to use in construction, but they’re also much better insulated than traditional building materials. This means that homes equipped with SIPs will use less energy in heating and cooling costs, which makes them a wonderful green alternative for those who are planning on building a home.
Home Automation. It may seem counter intuitive, but wiring your house so that many of its systems are fully automated is actually a great way to conserve energy. This is because automated houses are able to better regulate climate control, lighting, and appliance use, shutting down systems when no one is around and helping homeowners keep better track of kilowatt hours. Companies such as Vivint are able to quickly and easily install various automation systems which can help you start to make a difference today. Vivint reviews are generally very positive, so your journey into the world of carbon neutrality won’t have to be a stressful one.