This guest post is by Michael Ciocca of Total Mortgage.
As climate change and increasing energy costs continue to affect us, more and more people are realizing the benefits of going green. Making your home green brings images of solar panels, wind turbines, and fancy expensive gadgets. Fortunately, not all green ideas for your home are as complicated and expensive. These five ideas will get you on your way to living your new green lifestyle.
1.) Get a report from a professional Energy Rater
Not sure exactly what you should upgrade on your home, or just how energy efficient your home currently is? Then this is the best place to start. An Energy Rater will audit the energy usage of your current home, taking into consideration your current appliances, climate, roofing, building materials, and just about any other factor that could influence your energy usage. The Energy Rater will compile this into a report, rate your house on a scale of 1-100 (the lower, the more energy efficient), and give you recommendations on what to upgrade. The upgrades could range from cheap to expensive. If you are interested in making some major upgrades, an Energy Audit is also required for an Energy Efficient Mortgage.
2.) Start a compost pile and make your own garden
Every year, we throw away tons of organic matter that can be reused to create fertile soil in your own backyard. When we throw away material that can be composted, it mixes in with other toxic materials and becomes toxic itself, begins gathering in landfills, and adding waste that doesn’t need to be there. Instead, of throwing throwing out the uneaten parts of vegetables and fruits, the eggshells from your breakfast, or used coffee grounds, find a spot in your yard where you can pile them up. Mix it in with the soil for your garden comes spring, and enjoy your own (pesticide-free) vegetables all summer long! An added benefit is that you can skip some of the expensive fertilizers and smelly manure.
3.) Switch your lighting
Old-school fluorescent lighting really has no benefits that can’t be beat by a compact fluorescent bulb. CFLs use less energy than a standard light bulb. For example, it only takes a 15-watt CFL to produce the same amount of light as a standard 60-watt bulb. Other alternatives include technologies such as solid state lighting and LED lighting. LEDs are also great when adding a decorative touch to a room, as they often come in strips and many different colors.
4.) Switch to a Pellet Stove
As oil prices continue to increase, many people are scrambling to find alternatives to heat their homes. Want to upgrade your fireplace? Don’t have a fireplace? Pellet stoves are as decorative as they are functional, as a large enough stove is capable of heating your entire home. The stoves often provide heat by burning compressed wood pellets. These pellets are made from wood shavings and sawdust that would otherwise just be thrown out. Pellet stoves can also be made to run off bio-waste pellets, which often are CO2 neutral. In addition to being green solution to home heating, pellets themselves are much cheaper than oil, and often times this upgrade will pay for itself over the course of a couple years.
5.) Have more control over your energy use
Did you know that you may be losing heat through your energy sockets? Gaskets exist just for this purpose. These gaskets won’t help stop wasting heat if you are heating an empty house. For this, it’s best to look at the many programmable thermostats that are available. Other things to consider when making sure you are getting the most out of your energy usage is the type of windows you currently have, your insulation, and even your current roofing.
You do not have to make radical changes to your home to start going green. Follow these five easy steps, and you can be on your way to making a positive impact on the environment, and possibly your wallet as well.
This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..