first “eco-friendly homes” idea
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Let’s start with our home dwelling
- Modifying our home living is one of the best ways to make an impact on the environment. It is within our homes where we consume electricity, use water, and live our lives in comfort with lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration, electronics and other great inventions that make living in these times one of the greatest advancements in human history.
- But these advancements come with a price – impacts to the environment as demands for easy living must be supplied from outside sources that use fossil fuels to generate electricity, cut down forests to supply exotic woods, and provide packaging that ends up in landfills and oceans.
- Eco-living doesn’t mean the we revert back in time; but rather we need to move forward by replacing high-energy consumption with low-energy and yet enjoy our living standards where we become more self-sufficient.
So let’s review some ideas of eco-living advancements you can make throughout the home. Perhaps you can implement some of these eco-friendly ideas to reduce costs and energy use: [ scroll back up to view graphic ]
Eco-friendly Building Materials
Eco-friendly building materials have a very low impact on the environment and helps to save energy. These materials are made from renewable resources that are not toxic. Of course, this idea is great for new construction, but what about homes that are currently standing?
- There is not much you can do with existing homes except when replacing the roof or siding, adding an addition, or making major improvements to your home. Just simply research and ask for eco-friendly materials that can be used in your remodeling project.
- MORE INFO: 10 Eco Building Materials Revolutionizing Home Construction
INFO: 15 Green building materials for an eco-conscious home
LED lights save up to 90% energy as compared to traditional lights bulbs with the some lighting output. LEDs can significantly reduce the amount of energy used and waste disposal by simply changing out your current incandescent and CFL light bulbs with LEDs.
- And with the cost of LEDs coming down significantly, you can make that change fairly quickly with a guaranteed ROI on your investment.
- LEDs now come in creative styles, shapes, and colors that look just like the bulbs you used for overhead lighting and bathroom vanities. And they are just as bright as your current lighting by using only 1/6th of the electricity to operate. And LEDs will last many more years than traditional bulbs.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: evolving styles of LED lighting
VIEW TOPIC: Comparing Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
SHOP: LED light bulbs
Solar panels help reduce power consumption of the urban network and save fossil resources. It is the one energy-producing item you can place on your roof to reduce your home’s energy consumption.
- You can install solar panels or use the new, solar shingles that don’t change the look of your roof. Either option (depending on your location and sun exposure) can produce enough energy to sustain your household and potentially sell any access back to the electrical grid.
- It becomes a matter of cost and ROI. Check with your local electric provider and jurisdictions. Many offer incentives and rebates for solar installation that makes this eco-friendly solution with a positive ROI.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: Why Go Solar? 5 Reasons to Make the Investment for Your Home
VIEW ALL TOPICS: view all topics on solar power
Household Water Conservation
The use of water-saving devices con help reduce the consumption of water and energy. This is an easy fix for many households, especially if you have a large household.
- Your first step is installing water conversation and monitor usage on shower and bath faucets. These water-saving gadgets limit the flow of water and usage time to avoid wasteful water usages.
- Another step is using the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. Energy-efficient dishwashers that are fully loaded use about 1/5th of the water to clean dishes than if you were to wash theses dishes by hand – not to mention that time spent. Another option is to install water-efficient toilets.
- Be sure to complete a water conservation audit around the home (and yard) where water consumption is being used. Check for water leaks, replace spigots that don’t turn off easily, brush your teeth with the faucet off, etc. There are ways to conserve water without impacting the way we live.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: ways to conserve water
MORE INFO: What Is Water Conservation?
SHOP: water saving shower heads
The wind turbine can be an effective way for electricity generation using renewable sources of energy that helps preserve the environment. However, you need a large enough wind turbine in order to produce enough electricity for consumption.
- These are generally stand-alone wind turbines out in an open field or a medium-size wind turbine that is secured to the ground and attached to the side of the house. These wind turbines operate best in windy, open areas.
- Your best option might be solar – again, in all depends on your area. If you live in suburban neighborhoods with limited space, then solar is you best option. If you live in an open area that has open land, then wind turbines might be a good option.
- And if you live on the coast with both sun and wind, then you have both options to generate power to sustain your home. Be sure to check local jurisdictions for wind turbine installation. Some may be restricted due to noise and bird danger.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: On Windy Days – How to Enjoy, Harness and Protect
INFO: Installing and Maintaining a Small Wind Electric System
SHOP: wind turbine generator
Harness Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy can heat and cool your home preserving natural resources and doing zero harm to the environment. Of course, that would require a geothermal investment that may or may not give you good ROI if you plan to sell your home in the near future. However, if you are building or buying a forever home, it could be a long-term investment that could reduce your use of fossil fuels and HVAC costs.
- Think about it – geothermal system with solar panels. You can make your home completely energy efficient and eco-friendly. Heating and cooling a home is the highest use of energy for the home.
- If you can reduce your HVAC energy needs with geothermal, you can use solar to power your entire house and likely produce enough energy to sell back to the grid. That is a win-win strategy for any new construction and/or forever home.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: Diagram of a Geothermal Heating System
INFO: All You Need to Know About Home Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Good insulation helps maintain a significant amount of energy by keeping comfortable temperatures inside the home. Insulation includes energy-efficient windows and doors that reduce energy loss.
- Our first recommendation is to complete a home energy audit – either by DYI or bringing in an expert. The audit will check your current insulation to determine if it is giving you maximum energy protection. It will also check windows and doors and various seals and openings for energy loss.
- The audit will help determine what changes to make. This may include new, and improved insulation, replacing the windows and/or doors, and other tips to keep your home energy efficient.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: How to Make Sure Your Old Home Stays Well Insulated
HOW TO: DIY Home Energy Audit for Energy Efficiency
SHOP: home energy audit tools
Energy Efficient Appliances
These devices offer a significant savings of resources limiting greenhouse gas omissions without compromising performance.
- Energy efficient appliances include refrigeration that uses less energy to keep food items cooled; washing machines that use less water for cleaning; drying machines that use less heat to dry; and other appliances that consume low electricity.
- We simply replace inefficient items for eco-friendly, energy-efficient appliances. Look for units that have the Energy Star certified application. These appliances are certified to reduce energy use without sacrificing performance.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: Going Green With Energy Efficient Appliances
SHOP: energy star appliances
Reusing waste water significantly reduces the consumption of water in urban and rural households. You can reuse water to soak clothes, water plants, wash the car, and flush the toilet.
- Water is precious – and in some areas of the world, it is a scarcity. So reducing and reusing water helps keep consumption down.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: Water Conservation Begins in the Home: 5 Tips
INFO: Basic Information about Water Reuse
SHOP: Learn How to Reuse Water Around the Home With These 7 Water Recycling Ideas
lnstalling a rainwater harvesting system can save water consumption by up to 30% depending on the amount of annual rainfall. This is one of the easiest and most energy-efficient ways to save water.
- Just think about how much rain water comes off your roof. Setting up a collection system gives you enough water when and if treated to use for showering, flushing toilets, and watering the general landscape.
- VIEW OUR TOPIC: Decorative Rain Barrels to Add to Your Garden
INFO: rain harvesting 101
SHOP: rain collection systems
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