Go Green Tips – Energy Efficient Housing Ideas

Energy efficient housing ideas are everywhere. Seems like everyone has their version of Going Green Tips. But what is the big deal? So many of the tips that I have read about have been around for years. I’ll cover some of them in a bit. But what is different about them now is that, at least here in the U.S. two things have gotten our attention: gas prices going up a lot which seems to have led to an increased awareness of global warming and environmental impact.

Easy Ways To Go Green

Turn the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter. This will save you money on your electricity or gas bill. It will also lessen the demand on the electrical system overall which helps save everyone money.

Well, what goes hand in hand with the thermostat is to replace your older AC/heating unit. My wife and I recently upgraded our system to a Trane 14 SEER 4 Ton unit and we’ve already seen a drop in our summer AC bill of 30% (and we have had the thermostat turned down pretty low to test our new system).

Unplug electrical appliances when you are not using them. Well, I guess back in the 1970’s we didn’t have PC’s and MAC’s, so this one is new – unplug your computer when it is not in use. If you are smart you have your PC/MAC plugged into a power strip which you can use to turn off everything together.

Cold water wash – have you gotten away from washing your clothes in cold water? My wife and I still do it. But we have switched to a front loading washer which uses one third the water as a top loading washer. Not only do we save water, our clothes seem cleaner even though we use less detergent. Also, clothes coming out of the front loading washer don’t have as much water in them as a top loading machine which means less time to dry in the dryer – this saves us on electricity as well as water and money for detergent. And to really round this out, we have switched to environmentally friendly laundry detergent.

Skip the bottled water. Costco sells a great bottled water product – probably the cheapest my wife and I have found and the water tastes pretty good. However, we shifted away from buying bottled water from Costco in exchange for reusable polycarbonate non porous bottles.

We keep a 5 gallon water dispenser in the kitchen an about every 2 weeks I go to the water store and purchase 20 gallons of water at $.20/gal. We then refill our polycarbonate reusable bottles with this water. It works great and we save a couple of hundred dollars/year in bottled water. The other thing that this does is reduce the amount of plastic that goes into the environment and the amount of resources that it takes to either recycle or make these plastic bottles in the first place.

Switch to compact fluorescent light CFL bulbs in your home. These bulbs last 5 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs and use about 25% of the energy. These bulbs are more expense, but in the long run do payoff in bulb replacement costs as well as energy costs. One quick thing to say about these bulbs – they contain mercury – but not enough to be a problem in the home as long as you are not breaking every single one into a bowl and drinking the mercury.

To be real responsible for these bulbs you need to recycle them correctly. Check with your local waste management company on how to do that. Or, you can now go to Home Depot to recycle your bulbs. Just take your old bulbs to the returns desk and they will take them from you there. How easy can it get? While you are there – you can pick up new bulbs.

Borrow don’t buy. This one might take some getting used to. I have already gotten used to this one. My neighbor who is about 10 years older than me, but has already gone through being a parent told my wife and I when we first moved in to knock on their door if we ever needed anything – especially power tools.

So far I have saved over $300 with not having to buy a cordless drill, a dremmel, a hack saw and blades, two extension cords, yard blower, tree trimmer, a circular saw, and a level. In addition to having more space in my garage, I also have saved money on gas from not having to go to Home Depot to purchase any of these things.

Buy clothes that don’t require dry cleaning – this is a big chemical and cost saver. Also, buy in bulk – you’ll save on gas and reduce the amount of packaging you’ll have to throw away besides saving money with volume discounts. And last but not least – recycle your old electronics including old PC’s, kids toys, and cell phones.

These are some items that you can change to go green, save money, and to make your home more energy efficient. None of these items take a big shift in lifestyle or sacrifice. It only requires some knowledge and some commitment to make a difference. The phrase a little from a lot of people is way better than a lot from a few people.