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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: – U. S. Department of Energy – joint program of EPA and DOE to certify energy standards – Energy Information Administration – U. S. Environmental Protection Agency – Public-Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology – Global Energy Marketplace – sustainable products company – promotes manufacture, purchase, and use of eco-friendly products – American Wind Energy Association – American Solar Energy Society – non-profit organization that sets environmental certification standards – National Association of Homebuilders – not-for-profit testing laboratory – The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy – U. S. Green Building Council


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