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Green Living: Greening your Home

Is it possible to retrofit older homes to make them both environmentally friendly and less expensive to operate? Yes it is, and many of the changes are simple and will not “break the bank.” There are several inexpensive alterations that can be made that will have a significant impact on a home’s energy and resource consumption. Below I have listed some practical modifications, generally in order of cost, which owners of older homes should consider:

  • Installing and using window treatments to take advantage of the sun’s rays in the winter and blocking them in summer. Window treatments can also reduce drafts in winter.
  • Caulking around windows, doors, and siding joints
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs
  • Install an insulation blanket on water heater if approved by manufacturer
  • Installing electronic “set-back” thermostats
  • Insulating and sealing ductwork
  • Upgrading plumbing fixtures/shower heads/water heaters
  • Adding insulation in attics
  • Installing a radiant barrier under the roof or increasing attic ventilation
  • Upgrading appliances to those that are “Energy Star” rated
  • Replacing windows/doors
  • Replacing HVAC systems

If you are interested in more information, the following resources may be helpful:

www.energy.gov – U. S. Department of Energy
www.energystar.gov – joint program of EPA and DOE to certify energy standards
www.eia.doe.gov – Energy Information Administration
www.epa.gov – U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
www.pathnet.org – Public-Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology
www.repp.org – Global Energy Marketplace
www.forestworld.com – sustainable products company
www.greenseal.org – promotes manufacture, purchase, and use of eco-friendly products
www.awea.org – American Wind Energy Association
www.ases.org – American Solar Energy Society
www.globalgreen.org – non-profit organization that sets environmental certification standards
www.nahb.org – National Association of Homebuilders
www.nsf.org – not-for-profit testing laboratory
www.dsireusa.org – The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy
www.usgbc.org – U. S. Green Building Council

 

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