December might have come and gone and you might feel that the time to make your new year's resolutions is already over - but that's simply not true! January still is the perfect time to plan for 2016 and slip in your new Year Resolutions some ideas to be greener at home. For instance, you can try to reduce your greenhouse gasses emissions at home. Water, waste and energy are the key factors to take care of when trying to reduce them, so we've compiled a few tips to help you out with that.
Replace old incandescent bulbs
Modern Energy Star® certified light bulbs come in a lot of sizes and power to fit every need of a household. If every American home replaced just one light bulb with those, we would save enough energy to light 2 million homes for a year, save about $460 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 6 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. They last 10 to 25 times longer and saves $30 to $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime. You can also install an automation system to turn off lights when not needed, like movement or daylight sensors.
Choose more efficient windows and insulation
Near 80% of residential buildings use coated glasses windows that save billions a year in energy consumption. Low-e glasses experienced a lot of technology breakthroughs these past years which improved their visibility and insulation so maybe your old windows are ready for an upgrade.
Also, air leaks and poor insulation affect the performance of both air cooling and heating equipment. This new year it’s a good time to ask a professional to upgrade your windows and insulation to the latest technology that fits better to your local climate.
Reduce the use of your car
Even if you own an hybrid or electrical vehicle, walk or use the bike for short distances. Talk to your neighbors to coordinate car-pooling the kids to school and always choose public transportation -like trains- to cover long distance travel. For situations when you can’t avoid using it keep your tires properly inflated, your oil and filters in good conditions and turn off the engine if idle for more than 1 minute. Follow the instructions of its manufacturer to reduce energy consumption.
There is nothing more energy efficient that use the energy that’s already there: the sun! A new solar installation will both reduce your energy bill and get you federal tax credit. To minimize your investment you can apply for a rebate from programs like California Solar Initiative or consider a lease or other financing options. A certified solar installer will walk you through all the options and help you with the paperwork.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
Reduce the use of poor biodegradable materials like plastics or toxics like disposable batteries. Reuse and donate clothing and furniture and separate waste to recycle. And, most important, reduce drastically the use of water, both with changing habits like close the faucet while brushing teeth and with maintaining the plumbing and upgrading to low-flow fixtures.
Some of this things are easy as changing a bulb or change a simple habit and some will need more budgeting and planning, so you better start as soon as you pack your holiday decorations ;)
Posted January 11, 2016
by Gabriel Posternak.