10 Ways to Make Your Home Greener

10 ways to make your home greenerThere are many ways in which you can make your home greener; doing so means that you can raise your property’s future resale value, while also being able to save money on bills. To achieve this, it’s worth thinking about the benefits of switching to eco-friendly appliances, as well as considering how long term investments like solar panels can help to generate future savings. These approaches, and more, to making your home greener are listed below:

1 – Use Eco-Friendly Appliances

Old white goods in the kitchen like washing machines, fridges, and freezers can consume a lot of energy and emit heat and noise. You can reduce their environmental damage, and their costs, by switching to energy saving appliances.

2 – Consider Solar Panel Installations

An excellent long term idea, solar panels can add real value to a property over time. While it may take a long time to recoup your initial investment in solar panels, they will provide backup power and can be subsidized through government feed-in tariffs that pay you for surplus energy.

3 – Compost

If you don’t already, composting represents a great way to deal with waste while recycling nutrients for your garden. You can make a compost heap using a sealed wheelie bin and it doesn’t require a large garden to make one work. Tea bags, coffee grounds, and food scraps can be added to a compost heap and will eventually produce mulch and fertilizer for your garden.

4 – Use Less Water

Making savings on your water usage can add up to significant bill savings. There are some simple ways to achieve this – don’t leave taps running when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving and set limits on showers. Alternatively, invest in low flush shower and tap faucets and recycle grey-water from baths for the garden.

5 – Insulation

A home that has up to date insulation will be a greener property as you won’t have to rely as much on central heating. Windows and doors can be re-insulated using natural materials and blinds made from recycled materials can be added to rooms.

6 – Switch to Energy Saving Bulbs

If you’re using old light bulbs, it’s worth considering a switch to energy saving bulbs and LEDs. While they might initially be more expensive, energy saving bulbs last longer and are better for the environment.

7 – Use Eco Friendly Cleaning Products

Try to clean your home using eco friendly products that won’t damage the atmosphere. Toilet cleaners, air fresheners, and other natural cleansers can be picked up at relatively little cost but can have a big impact on your home.

8 – Get On Top of Recycling

Make sure that you’re separating paper and plastic  and find a local bottle bank if there is no collection. You can also order extra bins and  arrange for special collections for old furniture and white goods.

9 – Change Your Eating Habits

By eating more local food and buying from farmer’s markets, you can end up with produce that’s healthier and better for the environment by reducing distribution and packaging costs.

10 – Switch Appliances Off at Night

Most people tend to leave their appliances switched on or left on standby overnight – anything non-essential can be switched off at the mains rather than left on overnight or standby. Doing so will help to make your house greener and will save you on your bills over time.

Guest Post By:

Author Bio: Liam Ohm writes about home improvement. He recommends investing in bespoke furniture in order to ensure it fits your specification and holds its longevity. In his spare time he enjoys reading, socialising and travelling.

Fans in the Attic: Do They Help or Do They Hurt?

Whole-house fan drawingHomeowners in hot climates need to understand the difference between whole-house fans and powered attic ventilators

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding attic fans. Here at GBA, we regularly receive e-mails from homeowners with questions about attic fans: What’s the purpose of the fan in my attic? How often should I run it? Do I need a bigger fan?

Before addressing these recurring questions, it’s important to define our terms. First, we need to distinguish between three different types of ventilation fans.The most common kind of residential ventilation fan is… (Click here to continue reading this article)

POSTED ON OCT 26 2012 BY MARTIN HOLLADAY, GBA ADVISOR

Transparent solar cells let windows generate electricity

transparent-solar-cellsIn the future, solar panels will no longer be restricted to the roof. You’ll be able to put them on your windows too.

Scientists at UCLA have invented a thin, transparent solar cell that can turn the energy of the sun into electricity, while still allowing visible light to stream through it.

“If you take a piece of glass and compare it to our solar cell, it is difficult to tell the difference,” said study leader Yang Yang, a professor at UCLA and director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).
Read more…

Source:  Los Angeles Times, Business

Humidity, Mold, and Indoor Air Quality

Moisture rides on air currents, and warm air carries more moisture than cool air

To control air flows, make sure the air barrieris continuous
An air barrier helps control airflow both through and within the building enclosure. By controlling airflow, you also control moisture.  Read more…

Psychrometric_chart
Source:  GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

Five tips for conserving water during warm-weather months

Tips for conserving waterWater and the summer months tend to go hand-in-hand – water skiing or fishing at a lake, taking a dip in a swimming pool and watering home-grown plants with a garden hose are among the season’s most popular activities. Recent summers have also been some of the driest on record, prompting grass fires, drastically low lake levels and water utilities having to implement water restrictions on their customers.

According to the United Nations’ Water for Life campaign, around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in parts of the world where access to clean water sources is extremely difficult. Additionally, water around the world is unevenly distributed, taken for granted and wasted, polluted or unsustainably managed.

So how can you positively impact water usage inside and outside your home? Here are five simple tips for the summer months:

* Start with smart landscaping decisions. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting – longer grass shades the root systems and holds moisture in soil better than shorter grass. Also, consider composting kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and garden waste to retain more water, reduce erosion and even decrease weed growth.

* Water your yard responsibly. When summer temperatures heat up, water your lawn in the mornings to reduce water loss from evaporation. You can also set your sprinklers to a lower pressure. Why? Higher pressure creates a fine mist that evaporates faster or will blow away, thus wasting water.

* Start your day by showering with a low-flow showerhead. Low-flow showerheads limit the water flow to around three gallons per minute as compared to twice that for a normal showerhead. Pick one up at a local home improvement or hardware store. If you’re remodeling a bathroom, you can look at other water- and energy-saving gadgets like tank-less water heaters or low-volume flush toilets.

* Reduce the amount of water that runs down drains. It’s estimated that 95 percent of water that flows through a home runs down the drain, but simple steps like turning off the running water while brushing teeth or washing hands until it’s time to rinse decreases water waste. Consider collecting some of this water when there may be another use for it, such as watering a plant. Also, rather than running cold water from the tap until it’s cold enough to quench your summer thirst, refill and store a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.

* Save water and energy in the laundry room. Reduce water waste by running a washer only when it’s full. Using cold water also reduces the amount of energy used and conserves hot water for other household needs that require it. Need a new washer? According to ENERGY STAR, the average American family washes almost 300 loads of laundry each year, but can significantly reduce energy and water usage by purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified products. For example, a full-sized ENERGY STAR qualified washer uses 14 gallons of water per load, nearly 50 percent less water than a standard machine.

For more information on water savings tips this summer and information on incentives or rebates in your area, check with your local water utility.

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