By Bretton Love
If you already own your home, and you have now realized that it’s not very eco-friendly, don’t despair. There’s plenty that can be done to create a place that’s more energy efficient or just better for the planet. Here are 4 eco-friendly changes to make to your home next year.
Solar power is a great addition to any home, but it is one of those things that only works in some parts of the States and not in others. It’s also dependent on receiving a sufficient number of sunrays without too much cloud cover blocking the panels on the roof.
Also, roofs need to be expansive to support a reasonable size installation of panels to deliver sufficient kilowatts to power the energy requirements of your home. Certainly, there will be battery packs to store converted energy, but the energy grid will still be required from time to time to fill in for any gaps in coverage.
As with all eco friendly homes, it’s necessary to critically examine all eco-friendly ideas for validity. Some may be desirable because you wish to be as energy independent as possible, even if the cost savings over the years won’t make much of a difference.
Considering the attic sits inside your roof, it’s even more important that it’s well insulated from the outside elements. While it shouldn’t cost too much to heat because warmer air will rise from the lower floors, sadly much of the heat is usually lost quickly through a poorly insulated roof.
Creating a project in the new year to check the attic for air leaks and adding more insulation in those areas is an excellent idea. It will ensure less heat is lost, reducing the energy bill when using the upper most level of your home.
Here’s some advice from the Energy Star site (part of the EPA) on air sealing your attic. It should give you some pointers on where to start the process.
Reclaim or Recycle Wood Furniture
Instead of purchasing new furniture, it’s possible to buy what someone else is selling or giving away. Many people change their furnishings way before a chest of drawers or a table has seen its better days – often because the piece doesn’t fit in with the rest of their décor – which provides an opportunity to acquire something already produced.
Another approach is to purchase furniture made from reclaimed or recycled wood. This also avoids more forests being cut down. Tables might be made from a variety of sources including fallen wood, driftwood and other materials to produce something sturdy, attractive and unique. Distinctive pieces can be found this way, but be aware that they won’t necessarily match other furniture in the home.
Use Less Water
We all tend to use more water than we should. It contributes to a higher water bill but also is very wasteful with this finite resource. It’s possible to swap out some fixtures with a low-flow version. They reduce water usage by a quarter to as much as a half, which is a significant difference.
There are replacement aerators that screw onto existing faucets to measure and reduce the water flow. Also, there are shower head alternatives that can do the same thing. Even a one-minute shower can go through 2.5 gallons, which can be reduced to something more reasonable by making these changes.
There are many more eco-friendly changes you can make to your home, and if you implement them all gradually, you will be doing your bit to help save the planet.