Going Green - Without The Expense

This release discusses how homeowners can "go green" by consuming less energy.
March 26, 2008 - PRLog -- A home can be considered green for many reasons, from the eclectic (grass roofing) to the common (ecologically sensitive paint) to the obscure (earthships). Still, buyers and builders can be confused over what constitutes a green house. Must it be constructed with hay-bale walls and bamboo floors? Or can a house be green by simply consuming less energy?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a green home, in part, as one that uses energy-efficient construction techniques and products. The EPA found that Energy Star homes can save owners up to $400 per year on utility bills when compared to those houses that did not have an Energy Star rating.

Despite these cost savings, some homeowners worry about the upfront costs of going green. But, making your home more environmentally friendly does not have to be cost prohibitive. Going green can be incremental; little choices over time can accumulate to make a living environment healthy and sustainable.

Actions such as air sealing the home can go a long way toward making a home environmentally friendly. If a home has gaps and cracks, then pricey, cooled air will leak out of the house, making the air conditioner work harder. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that the openings in ceilings, walls and floors, and around window and door frames, plumbing penetrations, ducts, and electrical outlets account for 82 percent of the energy loss in the average home. A homeowner can save almost $100 a year by sealing these leaks, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

One of the simplest ways to air seal the home is with an insulating foam sealant such as Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant. Great Stuff sealant expands to take the shape and size of a void, forming a permanent, airtight and water-resistant seal that helps prevent cool air from escaping the home.  

Going green can also mean planting green things around the home. A well-designed landscape can not only add beauty to a home, it can also help reduce heating and cooling costs. Planting just three shady trees around a house can shave $100 to $250 off annual heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Newly planted trees will begin shading windows in their first year and will reach the roof in five to 10 years. Adding a row of shrubs or plants to create dead airspaces will help insulate the home in both winter and summer.

Finally, going green can mean doing the little things. Turn off unused lights and appliances. Pull the shades and close the curtains to prevent sunlight from heating the home. Set the water heater to between 115 and 120 degrees. Install a programmable thermostat. Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load.

Following these easy steps can lead homeowners down a path to a home that is more environmentally friendly.

Website: greatstuff.dow.com

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