The Lazy Way to be Green: A Green Home Can be Easier Than You Think!

GreenHome_LeavesGreen living is all over the news these days. You can find a “green guide” to just about everything, from cosmetics to kitchen appliances. We recently saw a guide to a “Green” Halloween! Transforming your current surroundings into a green home might seem like a good idea … in theory. What about all the time and expense involved in making the transition? Well, living in a green home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Sometimes, making the leap into more eco-conscious living works best when you take small steps first.

Here are some easy ways to have a more green home:

1. Invest in New Energy-efficient Appliances. Appliances are usually about 18% of a typical home’s total energy bill. Older refrigerators are the biggest energy drainers, but if any of your appliances is more than 10 years old, the EPA suggests replacing them with Energy Star energy-efficient models. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Investing in new appliances is the most expensive suggestion on this list, but one of the fastest and most effective ways to lessen energy consumption at home.

2. Use CFLs. Talk about easy! Switching from standard light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) is a simple change you can make in less than an hour. By replacing just five of your most frequently used light bulbs, you’ll save $100 per year. CFLs use 50-80% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. According to Energy Star (a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy), if every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a qualified CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 800,000 cars.

3. Get Your HVAC Serviced. Get a professional tune-up every two years on your HVAC and you can save 5% to 10% on your heating and cooling bills. Clean or replace your filter every month, too. Dirty filters block airflow and significantly reduce energy-efficiency.

4. Make Your Bathroom Low-Flow. Lots of opportunities for water savings can be found in the bathroom. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators are easy fixes that save resources without sacrificing water pressure. An efficient shower head will save a family of four up to $285 per year. Shower heads often cost less than $15, can be found at your local hardware or home and garden store, and all you have to do is screw them on to start saving water immediately.

5. Plant a Tree. During your next lazy weekend afternoon, take a look around your yard and consider the potential for energy savings. Shade trees not only add beauty to your landscape, they can also lower your cooling costs by up to 25%. You have to be a little patient with this solution, as it will take at least a few years for the trees to grow enough to lend you any significant savings, but the payoff is rewarding. In five years, your trees may provide enough shade to let you run your air conditioner less frequently, saving you up to 40% in cooling costs. And, don’t forget the hammock potential, too!

Here are some places to learn more about green homes and green building: