Part of living an eco friendly lifestyle is creating a home that is energy efficient. This helps reduce the energy required for heating, cooling, water heating and running all of the electrical appliances in the home. Making your home energy smart does not have to be expensive; there are multitudes of ways to increase the efficiency without spending a fortune.
Depending on the climate you live in, between 40 to 50 percent of home energy used is devoted to heating and cooling. New homes are constructed with energy efficiency in mind, but older homes are often poorly insulated, drafty and are thus, energy hogs! Simple steps to increase the efficiency of your home include using relatively inexpensive materials to seal your home. Caulk is quite affordable, and most brands are durable, lasting for years. Sealing around every window and door, around plumbing that extends through walls and using expanding sealer to fill large gaps in the foundation or attic helps keep the house tightly sealed. Inexpensive foam gaskets for placing behind electrical outlets and switch plates stop drafts along outside walls. Door draft stoppers are another economical way to help seal your home against air leaks. This prevents the loss of heat in the winter and the infiltration of hot air in the summer.
Eco friendly homes should be comfortable, but keep in mind, comfort is quite a relative concept. Rather than keeping a home at 72 degrees in the winter and wearing summer clothing inside, turn the thermostat down and wear seasonally appropriate clothes. You use less energy and save money on your utility bills. The same is true in the summer. Air conditioning can be saved for the most brutally hot days, relying on fans and open windows for the remainder of the time.
Rather than replacing all your appliances with energy efficient ones at the same time, wait until you really need a new appliance, then buy the most energy efficient one you can find. Many eco friendly people can manage without the use of a clothes dryer. For some, this is a hard adjustment, but taking a peak at what your electric meter does when you turn on the dryer helps motivate many to buy the ultimate in energy efficient drying systems- a clothes line or an indoor drying rack!
Using an alternative method of generating your home’s electricity is one of the best ways to make your home Eco friendly. Both wind and solar energy are free of emissions, as no fuel is burned to produce electricity. Solar power not only provides the energy for heating and cooling your home, it can also be utilized for water heating. If you are considering whether to convert to a wind or solar generated electricity, savings on the system can be achieved by first reducing your energy consumption. Using the above-mentioned methods of making your home efficient, reduces the size of the system you will need to power your home. In addition to completely cutting your contribution to carbon dioxide emissions, in some localities your utility company will actually compensate you for any electricity you generate in excess of your needs. This helps pay for the cost of the system. Other methods of lowering the cost involve tax credits for zero emission systems.
Biomass heating uses renewable resources rather than fossil fuels to heat homes. Although new biomass heating systems such as wood or pellet stoves are much more energy efficient with lower emissions, they still work by burning carbon based materials and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Rather than releasing carbon that was created millions of years ago, you are burning contemporary vegetation that if not burned, would release its carbon into the atmosphere upon decaying. Some believe that the net result of this whole process does not produce carbon, thereby making it Eco friendly indeed .
Mike Sorensen is an audiophile and the author of AcousticFields.com soundproofing blog. If you need help soundproofing a room then Mike is your man. Join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AcousticFields.