Like hybrid cars, recycling and energy-efficient appliances, eco-friendly homes are rapidly gaining in popularity. Making a home greener not only saves limited natural resources, but also saves money in the long run, and has proven to be healthier. With so many new eco-friendly products on the market, it has become very simple to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

To get you on your way to an eco-friendly home, here are a handful of tips to easily and affordably make your home greener - and help save you a lot of "green" in the process:
  • Assess Energy Usage. Getting a handle on your home's energy use is an important first step to improving efficiency. Do a simple assessment using the online tools at ENERGY STAR (www.energystar.gov), which provides guidance on ways to enhance energy efficiency and offers information on rebates and government tax credits.

  • Seal and Insulate. Sealing and insulating the "shell" of your home - outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors - is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency.

  • Make Your HVAC System More Energy Efficient. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling, so making smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills. Change your air filter regularly, tune up your HVAC equipment yearly, install a programmable thermostat and consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.

  • Install Low-Flow Showerheads and Toilets. New, low-flow models now use less than a gallon of water per flush vs. five gallons on older models. You can also save water and money, and still have ample water pressure, with a low-flow showerhead, which can slash bathing-water consumption.

  • Use Energy Efficient Lighting. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer.

  • Consider Solar Water Heaters. A solar water-heating system can reduce your fossil fuel usage and lower your utility bills in the process.

  • Choose Healthier Paints. Conventional paints contain solvents, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds that can cause smog, ozone pollution and indoor air quality problems. Opt instead for zero- or low-VOC paint, made by most major paint companies.

  • Reuse and Remodel. With a total teardown, everything that went into building the old house goes to waste. Construction material is one of the largest contributors to landfills. So reusing and remodeling is a good way to limit your impact on the environment.

I am always learning new ways to help my clients save money by going green. If you need more ideas, give me a call and I'd be happy to share. 

Smart Home Technology