Posted: March 20, 2017
Eco-friendly homes are the way to go, but greening your home can often feel overwhelming. It might seem difficult to achieve superhero status when it comes to being eco-friendly, but fear not, we can help. After all, Captain America fighting off legions of bad guys looks like a ton of work. Fortunately for you, a little work can go a long way. You can don your green cape by following a few eco-friendly practices in your own home and reach that superhero status with these tips.
Earn your conservation cape by putting your green thumb to use. Landscaping around your home has many benefits. Adding some greenery:
Put some thought behind your landscaping and you can reap the advantages of an eco-friendly home. How does the environment actually benefit from green heroes? Let’s find out.
Plants produce oxygen. In fact, different plants absorb carbon dioxide, breaking it down into oxygen and carbon. This helps improve the air quality. Landscaping also acts as a natural coolant. According to LoveYourLandscape.org, overhanging trees help to cool your attic up to 40 degrees and grass can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt, acting as a natural air conditioner for the surrounding areas. Grasses also capture dust, smoke particles, and runoff, which help protect the air and water quality of nearby bodies of water.
As an added bonus, you increase your green home’s value and aesthetic appeal.
Still got your green cape on? Good. There are many occasions for wearing it when you embrace the power of the sun. Solar power is a clean source of renewable energy. Homeowners have several options for embracing this particular form of energy efficiency.
Solar energy has the potential for providing power that reduces carbon emissions, which also helps to improve the air quality. It is also a huge money saver and can even increase the value of your home. Let’s investigate some options.
Solar panels or solar roof shingles provide a solid option for harnessing solar power. These panels can be attached to your roof to rein in the power of the sun. Newer to the market are solar roof shingles or photovoltaic roof shingles. These shingles replace the conventional shingles on a home while gathering solar energy to power your home.
Integrating solar power into your home often comes with state or federal incentives. In addition, any excess power goes back to the grid. Even better? You can even receive credits on your energy bill. Contact your local energy company for information on receiving compensation for your energy efficiency practices.
Green your home the smart way. Modern times call for a superhero that is tech-savvy. Sounds like another call for your green cape. While smart technology is designed to help homeowners be heroes in their own homes, the options for smart home technologies can be overwhelming in their variety.
Most major manufacturers now produce appliances and home technology that is designed to reduce your energy consumption. Smart thermostats have the potential to lower your energy consumption up to 20 percent. These handy tools can be programmed to turn down the temperature while you are away, but resume normal settings 30 minutes before you arrive. It can be lowered while you sleep cuddled under blankets. These devices also learn from your behavior and will spring into action even if you forget to make the changes before you leave. You can also turn off the air conditioning when you leave for vacation, but remotely turn it back on before you return home to a cool, comfortable abode.
In addition to thermostats, you can invest in energy-efficient washing machines and dryers, refrigerators, and other appliances. The Huffington Post tells us that Energy Star Qualified appliances use 10-50 percent less energy than standard models. The energy savings is even more significant if you currently have older appliances.
Energy-efficient washing machines and dishwashers can save water and electricity. You can add a gold star to your cape by only doing full loads of laundry and dishes. Do as much laundry in cold water as possible. Hang dry and air dry for green home bonus points.
Lighting also accounts for up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption. Installing LED light bulbs can considerably reduce your energy consumption, up to 90 percent. These bulbs also last 8-10 times longer and produce 90 percent less heat, which in turn means less air conditioning.
Sensors and dimmers can also be an effective way to reduce consumption. Motion sensors will only turn on lights when necessary. Dimmers can help you use less energy when you need a darker ambience.
There are so many environmentally friendly ways you can do things within your own home. It’s time to flourish that green cape yet again and give these strategies a try.
First, take a look at what you regularly eat. Consuming local produce or planting a garden is another way to let your superhero colors shine. According to LiveScience, North American produce travels a minimum of 1,500 miles before reaching your grocery store. By supporting local farms, farmers’ markets, and community agriculture programs, you can reduce the amount of carbon emissions required to transport food. As a bonus, it supports local business.
What about what happens to your food leftovers? You may want to go for composting. Composting reduces the amount of methane released in the environment and is an eco-friendly way to rid your home of waste.
Consider more ways to reduce your home’s personal carbon footprint. Ask yourself how you can recycle or reuse a specific product. Reusable shopping bags are a great way to be a hero. TheWorldCounts tells us that 160,000 plastic bags are used every second and that an average family uses 60 plastic bags for only four visits to the grocery store. Imagine how a single household could significantly reduce that number by simply shopping with reusable bags.
Keep up on home maintenance. How can this help, you ask?. Air leaks and plumbing issues can lead to an overconsumption of energy and resources. Check your doors for air leaks to avoid a bump in heating costs and energy consumption. Take a gander at your plumbing and fix any leaks to avoid excess water usage.
Speaking of maintenance, what about building materials? Bamboo is the fastest growing tree in the world and is an exceptionally strong material. Integrate some bamboo when looking to upgrade or change something in your home. It is also exceptionally lightweight, making transporting it more eco-friendly.
Ultimately, a little goes a long way and it pays off to be creative. Even letting in some sun, rather than flipping on a light switch gives you the right to strap on that green cape.
What good is being a superhero if you can’t protect those nearest and dearest to you? Not to worry! You can even green your home security. How? Let’s take a gander.
Make all of that eco-friendly landscaping you are doing work in your favor with some added security features. When adding some green, think about placement and line of sight. Avoid making it easy for unwanted guests to hide or go unheard. Trim your bushes to about 2-3 feet tall. Trim foliage from trees that are close to the ground or that offer easy access to a window. Small stones or gravel are a nice decorative touch and make it difficult to tiptoe quietly to your door.
Proper maintenance of your lawn can also work in your favor. Keeping a trimmed lawn lets others know you are home and limits hiding space. Also, a potential burglar might assume that a homeowner willing to invest in landscaping might also be likely to invest in home security. If you employ lawn services, schedule them to occur during times you won’t be home to add some eyes to your property while you’re away.
You can also consider solar-powered components as part of your home security system. Utilize solar-powered backup batteries to power your home or security system in an outage. Harness the sun by installing solar-powered lights that illuminate doorways and outdoor areas at night. To further flex those green superhero muscles (not of the Hulk variety), you can employ solar-powered flood sensors and motion sensors on your property. If you need more security, you can even increase your energy efficiency with a solar-powered security camera. Perhaps we need to add a bright golden sun to the back of your green cape.
If you plan on installing solar-powered lighting, make it work for your security needs as well. Illuminate pathways and major points of entry. Exterior motion-sensor lighting can also make an unwanted visitor think twice before trying your home.
Even Captain America has to call in his friends for help from time to time. Make nice with your neighbors. Most break-ins occur during the day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but with a little help, you can deter any would-be burglars. Do you have a neighbor who works close to you? Consider carpooling. You can reduce your carbon emissions while leaving a car in the driveway to make it appear as though someone is home. Neighbors are also a great way to put some team effort behind monitoring. Sub in a superhero and ask your neighbor to pick up any mail or packages that are dropped off when you aren’t there. Barking dogs also help keep prowlers at bay.
It may not involve fighting hordes of the undead or evil villains set on world domination, but strapping on that green cape can make a difference where it matters the most. Put on your conservation cape and make a difference.