So how do we begin this process?
One of the first lessons the homeowner will learn in the Green process is that every small change adds up. It’s easy to try and change everything and become overwhelmed so start small and tackle projects and lifestyle changes as they are available and affordable.
1.Your first move as most environmentalists will suggest is to change the small things for example, your light bulbs. Change the lightbulbs in your house to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs last longer, are 75% more efficient and shine just as brightly.
2. Another important change for homeowners is to implement a programmable thermostat (approximately $40-$50), ideally an ENERGY STAR model. Being able to adjust your thermostat to the appropriate temperature when you’re home and when you’re not home can save a significant amount of money and energy. Home Depot estimates that an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat will save the average homeowner 33% in utilities.
Additionally, staying cognizant of cleaning or replacing air filters in your heating and cooling system on a regular basement while also using the programmable thermostat is the equivalent of taking 600 cars off the road for one year. For more information on heating and cooling your home please visit the "Turn Over A New Leaf" page.
When buying appliances keep your eyes open for the ENERGY STAR sticker. An ENERGY STAR appliance uses 10-50% less energy and water than standard models and emits significantly less greenhouse gases. The ENERGY STAR sticker means the appliance or product is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Please click on the icon below to visit the ENERGY STAR website and see what options are available to you.
3. Something as small as water leaks can add up to big bills. The bathroom is where most water is generally used in the house. Trying to turn the water off while you brush your teeth, don’t flush the toilet unnecessarily and try to shorten your showers. Also, check to see if your toilet has a leak. To check put a few drops of food coloring into the tank and see if the color leaks into the bowl without flushing. If it does, you have a leak.
-Switch to low flow shower heads ($20-40)- they use half the water and the newer models provide ample pressure.
4. When the time comes to put in new floors or refinish there are plenty of new options in earth friendly flooring. Bamboo, concrete, cork, and reused hardwood are just a few options.
5. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
6. Install motion sensing switches (prices vary all the way up to $200) that will turn off lights in a room that is unoccupied for more than a specific amount of time.
7. Check for air leaks around windows and electrical switches and outlets and seal the leaks with caulk.
8. Water your lawn at dawn instead of in the middle of the day. Less of the water will evaporate before it gets down to the roots, so you don’t need to water as often.
9. When you paint inside your house use low-VOC or zero-VOC paints. VOC are Volatile Organic Compounds. VOC’s create the strong odor when you paint. Low VOC paints range in price but in general are $13-$30 per gallon. The prices are equal to the standard gallon of paint and there are just as many products from glazes to primers.
Architects & Contractors
Architecture In Formation
526 West 26th Street Ste. 422
(Between 10th and 11th Avenues)
New York, NY 10001
Maggie Wood, Consultant
652 Peconic Bay Blvd.
Jamesport, NY 11947