If you are building a home, your builder can suggest many green options that will save you money, increase the resale of your home, and provide cleaner and more efficient functionality throughout your home. Even if you are not building new, you can consider each one of these green features for your current home or future build. Here at CMM, we have simplified this process so that you can enjoy some of what technology has to offer, at a pace that most suits your lifestyle. The features listed below vary in terms of effort and initial cost, but all provide ways for you to capitalize on new building methods and revitalize your home along the green path.
Go Green # 1
Let’s start with a feature that is highly actionable because of the relatively low cost and high benefits. If you haven’t already, get your hands on a programmable thermostat. You can set it to your schedule and walk away. It is that simple. If you get a 7 day model, you can set a different schedule for every day of the week. If you go to www.nest.com you will see a system that will program itself after 7 days of use. The nest system will track your patterns for times you go to bed and times you wake up using the temperatures you enjoy at each time. The recommendation is to keep the temperature below 68 when not in use in the winter, and above 78 when not in use in the summer. This 40 dollar investment will have your energy bill thanking you all the way to the bank. The one featured below is by Honeywell but there are many brands and models available.
Go Green # 2
Go big or go home. Solar panels are an investment. Exact prices vary but you can expect to spend 10,000 – 18,000 for the initial cost after tax rebates, and recoup your initial expense in approximately 6-10 years. If you have the $$ for this effort, it is more than worth it. It will pay to your advantage in the long run, and will drastically reduce your energy consumption from day one. If you are interested in adding some design flair to this endeavor, a product that I have personally fallen in love with is solar panels by Tesla, www.tesla.com/solar. On their website, Tesla states that "Solar roof tiles are manufactured with durable, long lasting tempered-glass in four styles that complement and power your home." These styles can be integrated into the design of your home. The payback will take some years on this investment, but it is an amazing way to harness the abundant energy of the sun.
Go Green # 3
LED Lighting. The energy, time, and cost savings make this one a no brainer. Philips recently came out with a product that is 80% more energy efficient and lasts 25 times longer than a traditional bulb (source: http://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-li/led-light-bulbs). Prices on these bulbs vary but you can expect to pay more up front and recoup your investment within about one year. Another plus is that these products come with a dimming feature. While providing a welcoming ambiance to your home, this feature also makes it so that you are using only the energy that is needed for your given purpose. Ever get sick of replacing bulbs in those hard to reach places? LED bulbs can last up to 20 years minimizing your maintenance efforts. Satco is a great resource for LED lighting. You can follow this link http://www.satco.com/light-bulbs/led-bulbs/led-filament/ for many types of designer bulbs including the popular Edison, as featured in the pictures below.
Go Green # 4
HVAC system. Energy Star is a government program that was started to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This recognizable name has a trusted reputation for helping consumers choose products that will reduce costs and add efficiency. Cost is a large component in earning an energy star rating. If the cost of a product is higher than current market pricing, it is an energy star requirement that consumers can recoup that cost within a given amount of time. This system is great for the environment as well as our wallets. That being said, it may be time to replace your hvac system. Heating and cooling a home usually adds up to about 45% of the total energy cost of a home. A typical hvac system over 10 years old will cost you about 30% more per year than an Energy Star system. Initial cost is about $4,000, and time to recoup that cost is about 7 years (source: www.energystar.gov). This added value will give you durability within your home while providing a comfortable environment. A good example of energy efficiency in heating/cooling your home can be found at http://www.weil-mclain.com/products/boilers. Weil Mclain boilers can be designed to fit very large and very small spaces with boiler controls and zone controllers tailored for any given space. They can also be used for radiant heat, which can provide unbelievable comfort in your home, as well as a 40% savings in energy usage per BTU.
Go Green # 5
The Energy Star system doesn’t end there. When buying appliances, it is important to keep the Energy Star rating in mind. These appliances offer significant energy and water savings without compromising value and performance. www.energystar.gov is a great resource to look up each appliance in your home and assess the savings over time. They have an excellent buying guide for everything home related. There may be hidden cost savings for upgrading many of the appliances in your home. Once you know the product you are ready to replace, you can hop on over to places like www.jennair.com to pick out exactly what you need.
There is nothing quite like a win win situation. These particular situations are incredibly good for the environment, the look and feel of your home, and for saving you money. Whether you are building a new home, or just staring at your washing machine wondering if there is a newer, cleaner, more efficient model out there; these top five green steps will guide you on your way to a greener home.