5 Simple Energy Conservation Ideas For Your Home

While most potential home buyers, consider their monthly mortgage payment (including principal, interest, and escrow/ taxes), many, fail to adequately consider other monthly expenses, associated with home ownership. Perhaps the most significant one, is the cost of energy – related activities, including electric, and heart. The purpose of this article is not to examine the many alternative heating alternatives, including solar, geo – thermal, etc, but rather, to review some simple steps, one can somewhat easily take, to make their home more energy – efficient, and friendly. Let’s look at 5 simple, basic, energy conservation ideas/ steps.

1. Windows and doors: What is the Energy Efficiency Ratio of your entry doors? What material are they made of? How are they hung? How much air is seeping out, through the spaces created, because of their alignment? Simply, assuring your door has a bottom sweep, and the spaces around the top, and sides, is reduced/ eliminated, will prevent heat escaping in the winter, and air conditioning, escaping during the summer. What type of blinds, or curtains are you using, and are you using them, to let sun in, when it is cold out, while reducing the entry of the heat of the sun, when it is hot? When was the last time you checked your windows, in terms of air – tightness, energy rating, and tinting (if your local climate indicates doing so)?

2. Insulation: Every form of insulation comes with some R rating. This number indicates the amount of insulation, but are you certain, all exterior walls and ceilings are properly insulated? Doing so, might potentially save a considerable amount of unnecessary energy costs.

3. Energy efficient appliances: Certain home appliances, especially refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, have become far more energy – efficient, in recent years. How old are yours? Look at the rating, and it will indicate how much energy a particular appliance might be using. When I recently replaced my refrigerator, the new one was far more efficient (therefore, cost less to run), than my 15 – year old model. Similarly, today’s oil and gas burners and boilers are far more efficient, than they have ever been!

4. Water and toilet: Are there any dripping faucets or toilets that continue to run – on? Eliminate the drips, change faucet heads (especially in the shower), and check the efficiency of your toilets.

5. Lights/ fixtures: Begin by making the effort to turn lights off, when you leave the room! What type of light bulb are you using? Many bulbs today are four, or more times, more efficient (use less energy/ wattage), than older ones. Do a lights and fixtures – review on a regular basis!

These 5 ideas may seem basic and obvious, but you’d be amazed how few people consider these. Unless you like wasting energy, and spending more than you need to, using these simple, conservation methods, will save money, and reduce energy waste.

Choosing the Best Green Home Builder

Today many people are “going green”, which means that they are becoming environmentally friendly in how they live their lives and minimizing the harm done to the earth. When some people decide to build their home from the bottom up, they decide to have a green home builder build their home. This contractor would build their home with low environmental and energy efficiency in mind. To find a green home builder you should talk to the contractors in your area. Some that will travel to your area to build your home but their services will add more expense to the cost of your home.

To ensure that you will have the best green home builder ask them what type of building material they will use. You should also inquire about their disposal methods to make sure they are in compliant with sustainability practices. The materials that they should use are non-toxic when possible, and environmentally friendly. They should also be materials that come from renewable sources, or sustainable material. This can include materials from homes that have been knocked down. This material can include old doors, cabinets, some of the wood to accent the home such as using the material for ceiling beams, and more. They should try to avoid using plastics and choose their wood carefully. You should ask to see examples of the green projects they have completed. Their construction philosophy should focus on green building. It should not just focus on using green techniques as a secondary technique. Make sure that the contract you sign states that it will be constructed from sustainable and green material.

A home builder may tell you that they are using green building techniques but it could be easy for them to start using less environmentally friendly techniques and designs to save money on materials so they can put more money in their pockets. This is why you need to be sure that they are a reputable home builder and have good references as a green construction company. They need to be knowledgeable about green techniques and processes and committed to green construction and design. If you want your new green custom built home to be built using unconventional techniques make sure the home builder can demonstrate they understand the techniques you want and can do them correctly.

Before you choose a green home builder, you should educate yourself on what constitutes a green home and the process to build one. This will help you to determine a good green home builder and to know if they are cutting corners using non-environmentally friendly material. Having a green home can save you money on heating and cooling costs, and if sustainable material is used it can save these materials from being disposed of improperly.

Various Opinions on Log Homes

You’re looking for a unique home, one that isn’t a cookie cutter replica of every other home. Much has been written about log homes and perhaps you are wondering if one might be the answer to your desire for a “something different” kind of home.

In your quest to learn about this type of dwelling, you’ll find a number of differing opinions. It is sometimes challenging to separate myths from opinions or determine if one bad experience represents log home living all around.

Keep in mind that log homes are in one respect no different from other types of homes. They are only as good as the materials used, the quality of construction, and maintenance that sustains them post-construction.

What’s Old is New

These types of homes are hardly a new form of housing. They have sheltered humans for hundreds of years. And they keep gaining popularity in today’s housing market. Check out local newsstands and see how many log home consumer magazines are in the racks.

Myths/Opinions

Rarely is there a universal experience or opinion for anything, including homes made of logs. Some people have lived in them and swear they never will do so again; others wouldn’t live in any type of home. Consider some of these more common myths/opinions:

• Energy Efficiency: you may have read that these homes aren’t energy efficient. This may be true – depending. A well-designed log home, built to modern standards by knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen, can be as (or more) energy-efficient than a well-insulated frame house.

• Upkeep: according to opinion, this type of home either requires or does not require extensive upkeep. No home is completely maintenance-free. It is unrealistic to build such a home, let it weather with time, and expect that it requires not upkeep. Every log home needs periodic cleaning, preserving, and coating to protect the structure against moisture, weather, fungi, and insects.

• Settling and Rotting: all houses – no matter what type of construction – settle because land is constantly shifting and settling. Home designers have developed techniques to address this settling issue. Be sure to ask each manufacturer about settling systems when you are considering these homes.

• Fire Hazards: These homes may withstand the devastation of fire more readily because of their thicker walls. The current exterior wall code mandates that materials used must have a minimum of “one hour-rated fire-resistive construction on the exterior side. The typical 6-inch (or greater) log walls have a considerably longer fire resistant level than one hour because logs don’t easily burn; they will smolder for a long time before they actually ignite. Consider that 26 forest firefighters who survived the Topanga Canyon firestorm of 1998 by seeking shelter in a log home!

• Cost/Financing: rumors seem to persist that these homes are costly to finance and insure. Neither of these claims seems to have much credibility these days. Such claims may have been more likely when log homes were less common but should not be stumbling blocks today.

If you have never lived or vacationed in such type of home or cabin, consider giving it a try before you plunge into buying one. Some owners discovered they quickly tired of “so much wood” inside and out. Others found the experience unsatisfactory because they purchased a log home that had not been well designed, constructed, or maintained.

You can find both positive and negative opinions on almost anything when searching the Internet. Take time to research their design and manufacture companies that interest you and (if possible) view some of their existing homes before you make your decision.

Green Homes for Sale

If you were looking at real estate ads and saw one that stated “green homes for sale”, you may at first wonder why anyone would a listing stating the color of their home. This is not what this type of ad means. It is just stating that the homes for sale are earth friendly and energy efficient. Green homes for sale are being built in an effort to less the carbon footprints we leave behind.

When you purchase a green home they will contains all or some of the following features that are earth friendly.

• Fiber cement siding
• Alternative power system like wind and solar
• Recycled building insulation
• No VOC stains and paints, which stands for volatile organic compound. It is any compound that is carbon-based and will vaporize at standard room temperatures. Some of the more prevalent ones are formaldehyde, acetone, and methane.
• Solar powered hot water heating

Even if you do not live in a green home, there are things that you can do to increase your energy conservation. It will even help contribute to saving our environment. Making your home a green home can help to reduce global warning and save the homeowner money. It will significantly better the environment and require little effort for the homeowner.

Making a green home

• Instead of using the standard incandescent light bulbs start to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). When you switch to the CFL’s you can save per year over a hundred dollars. You can find these lights in the same aisle as your regular bulbs but they are little more expensive. In the United States, if every house switches the type of light bulbs they were using to CFL’s there would be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of one trillion pounds.
• Install a thermostat that is programmable-with this type of thermostat the homeowner can program the thermostat so that the air conditioner or heater is off when homeowners are not at home. The programmable thermostat can be programmed so that it will cool or heat your home shortly before the homeowner arrives home. This change could save the homeowner ten percent or more on cooling and heating costs
• Plug air leaks-this will help the homeowner save money and practice conservation. You can do this by installing weather stripping, keep the temperature in your home from rapidly fluctuating, and caulk windows correctly to stop air drafts.
• Energy Star® rated appliances-these reduce the amount of electricity that is needed to operate them so they have less of an impact on the environment. They will also save on your energy bill.

3 Reasons to Invest in Eco Friendly Properties

Rewarding yourself with a new house? Why not go green and eco-friendly? It has plenty of benefits, 3 of which are discussed below.

Eco-friendly homes use natural materials during construction

There are many choices of eco-friendly construction materials. They range from recycled wood, half-raw and half-recycled, and those made from dirt, straw, and clay. According to experts, materials of these made contribute less to the greenhouse effect. They trap less of harmful gases while allowing for a freer entry of natural light and air in and out of the house.

Overall, environment-friendly homes are known to exhibit better indoor environment quality. Improved lighting conditions, better air quality, and natural thermal conditions are some of the natural benefits one can get when buying eco-homes.

Eco-friendly homes are also health-friendly

The natural materials used in eco-homes are also health-friendly. This is very beneficial to individuals with health conditions like asthma and other respiratory problems. There have been several studies linking the use of eco-friendly materials in home construction. Significant changes on health conditions were exhibited by individuals who are known asthma patients.

Further studies revealed that the more natural materials used in them help facilitate the flow of cleaner air inside homes. They are also less likely to contain plastic by-products which release toxic substances. These substances are generally linked to carcinogens or substances that contribute to the development of cancer cells.

These days, developers are more aware of the health consequences of the materials they are using when constructing properties. Home buyers just need the proper information to educate or at least warn them that eco-friendly homes are by far among the best choices when health conditions are considered.

Environment-friendly homes are energy-efficient

Today’s thrust in construction of properties gives focus on energy-efficiency. It is a known fact that the earth’s natural resources, from which man depends for water and energy, are becoming fastly depleted. In order to contribute to conservation efforts, eco-friendly houses are designed such that they would not largely depend on non-renewable energy sources.

It is now common to see houses being put on sale that are designed with solar panels. With these, energy consumption is likely reduced to about third as compared to dependency on coal or other non-renewable energy sources for electricity.

Do not just think about yourself, think about Mother Earth too! Living in an environment-friendly house can be one of your unconscious contributions towards nature conservation and protection.