Green building is all over the news, but have you implemented any green technologies or strategies (like recycling) into your home? Why or why not? What would it take to make you take on the work and/or upfront costs?
One of the great things about thinking "green" when making home improvements is that it can be done at many levels. For example, a lot of energy savings can come from fairly small changes made during a project.
We had our asphalt shingle roof redone late last year. We switched from using an attic ventilator fan to a roof that has ridge vents running along all of the roof ridges. This small change resulted in a number of improvements, including energy savings for better warm air transfer and eliminating the power draw used by the fan.
We also went with the lightest color of asphalt shingle available. It's not stark white, but it is much lighter than the dark grey we had. Many of the other homes in our neighborhood have light colored roofs now, so there's no cosmetic issue.
I've made several other energy saving improvements to our 20+ year old home as circumstances allowed, like replacing most of the incandescent lighting with "sunlight" compact fluorescent bulbs - these have a bright, sunny appearance that is much more pleasing to the eye than "soft white".
Replacing the weatherstripping on the exterior doors cost us less than $20 per door. A fiberglass jacket on the water heater in our uninsulated garage cost about $20 too.
Just a few ideas. Don't forget to look at the small stuff when updating and improving, the savings can really build up over time.
Scott C. in Cary, NC USA
We recycle almost everything - our recycling bin is flowing over and our garbage can is half empty on collection day. We also compost kitchen scraps 3 seasons.
We also broke down and installed a 95% efficient furnace this year, which saves both natural gas and electricity. We bought a front loading washer and this saves both water and gas, as the clothes are much drier once they are spun. When the furnace was replaced, I also sealed all the ducts that I could reach, including cold air return ducts. I shut off the heat to the basement.
Our local utility subsidizes CFLs and they are available for $0.50 each here. I have replaced every incandescent bulb, except those on a dimmer or motion sensor. Last year after Christmas, I bought LED Christmas lights on closeout and these only use a few watts per string.
I sealed up all the double hung windows by adding foam tape top and bottom so they seal tightly. Ditto on the doors. The band joist was leaking all around the basement top and I caulked this and re-insulated it. Two years ago I added an additional 6" of insulation in the attic, bringing it up to about 15" total. I also sealed and insulated the attic door, added gaskets to all outside wall outlets and light switches.
The programmable thermostat is set for 68 degrees (F) when we are here and 60 at night. We have lots of tall trees and only use AC a couple days a year.
I bought a hybrid car in 2007, but I am really ticked at the low gas prices now. :D
We started recycling this past summer. Prior to that it was the old splash of gas in the 50 gallon drum full of plastic and batteries.
For me, going green has to be efficient, economical and convenient. Problem is in the past green products (appliances) cost kept me far away from becoming a tree hugging hippie.
We have converted over to the fluorescent bulbs in all of our fixtures. I have noticed a significant drop in the electric bill and the cost of buying light bulbs. I actually can't remember the last time I've had to change a bulb in the house.
I am interested in finding alternate means of power apart from the power grid. The windmill thing is definitely interesting.
I also really like the new on demand hot water heaters and will probably be upgrading to one of those bad boys this spring. I also did some work on a house recently that had one of those dry composting toilets. That does have some potential for me if I ever get to build that log cabin I'm still trying to talk the wife into. It would be nice to not have to go thru the expense of a septic.
"open burning ... largest source of dioxin" -EPA
Don't Burn your Garbage
There are still lots of rural folks who burn their trash.The smell is terrible...my cusin up in the finger lakes region of upstate Ny, recently signed on to a garbage service...they still call it that up there.:D
Now if someone could invent a trash burning, composting heat to energy unit for the backyard...we would come out of this repression...i mean recession.:)
And folks would be able to by more stuff and burn it for later.:clap:
If only I was in charge.......:banana:
The concept of green building is getting more and more importance nowadays due to environment concerns and energy savings.
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