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A Most Basic Guide to Greening Your Home in 5 Steps

When most people hear about “Greening” their San Jose home they automatically think solar panels. While it is true that getting off the grid is fun and rewarding there are many more simple steps we can take towards a more greener home.  In fact, installing expensive solar panels may not make sense if we have a drafty, energy leaking house.

Since homes produce twice as more greenhouse gas emissions than all passenger cars, giving your San Jose house a green energy tune-up may be the best place to start.  It is incredible how much money you can save by simply implementing a few tips: 

1.      If your heating bill is higher than your mortgage and your Persian cat is wearing a sweater it’s time to change those windows.  By replacing old single pane windows you will not only be more comfortable in your house but also put a plug into one of your main enegry leaking sources.     

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2.         Switch all of your light bulbs to fluorescent type. They are four times as efficient as traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last 10 times as long.  You can find them at your closest hardware store.  If every American simply did this, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year.

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3.         Note all the appliances that are always (even when you’re not using them) plugged into the wall outlet. An astonishing 75% of energy used to power appliances in the home is used while the appliances are turned off.  No wonder they are called “energy vampires.”  These include laptops, cell phone chargers, wall AC units, and of course the biggest offender of them all – that beautiful plasma TV.

It would be good to unplug them but that means we have to plug them back in the next day.  You can use a regular power strip with an ON/OFF button but even an easier solution is the Smart Power Strip or a similar product that will automatically sense when turn the power off or on.

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4.         Install a dual-flush toilet.  No, it doesn’t flush twice.  It’s the kind that has two buttons.  One for a smaller 0.8 gallons flush and the other for a larger flush – about 1.6 gallons.  The smaller flush is for… well you get the idea.  This is one of the best way to reduce your water usage and you will feel good by saving as much as 65% of the water used by the traditional toilet.  If you replace older WaterSense labeled models, you can save 4,000 gallons per year.  Want to hear the best?  Right now Santa Clara County will pay for the most of it!  Click here.

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5.         Insulate your attic and install inexpensive fans if possible.  This will cut down your heating and cooling bills.  Experts recommend spray foam insulation.  It’s two to three times more expensive than traditional fiberglass insulation, but it’s more efficient because it expands to 100 times its original size and as a result fills every nook and cranny, preventing air leakage.

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Need more good reasons to consider these options?  Check out the Federal Stimulus Package that will allow you to claim tax credits for making your house more eco friendly.  Check out the ASE website for complete details.

If you need any referrals to help you with the windows or insulation, then click on to the About section of this Blog and e-mail the author.

Happy Greening!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Katya Alekhina August 31, 2009, 7:57 pm

    I have a dual-flush toilets in both of my bathrooms & we absolutely love it.
    It does not have 2 buttons but only one which can be used up or down depending on…. you know what I mean.
    We also got a great rebate from Santa Clara County for switching to a more water efficient toilet. It has covered around 70% of the new purchased toilet.

    There are also great low flow faucets that available at Home depot or Lowe’s.

    • Tadas August 31, 2009, 8:33 pm

      Hi Katya, great to see you here! Thanks for participating and sharing your tips.

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