Green…the cure for the summertime blues!

Summer is definitely here, and in Arizona that means spending more time indoors than out.  If you’re starting to suffer from the hibernation blues, maybe now’s the time to take on a project and green your home!

Pollution has long been a problem in large communities and big cities with air contamination from vehicle emissions being the number one concern. But did you know that nearly 40% of greenhouse emissions come from our homes? Here are some tips on what you can do in your home to help reduce pollution, cut costs and go green.

This infrared image from a home inspection shows the heat produced from inadequate insulation.

Repairs: Making sure your home is in tip-top shape is essential when looking for easy ways to save money. By replacing worn seals on windows and doors you can reduce the heating and cooling costs for your home. It’s also a good idea to make sure your attic and crawl spaces are adequately insulated to help keep the cool air in and the hot air out during the Arizona summers. It is wise to invest in double pane windows for insulation as well. Keep in mind that the South and West sides can be covered with awnings or thermal window treatments to help keep the heat out in the hot afternoon sun.

Appliances: Did you know that by spending a few more dollars when purchasing new appliances for your home (after you’ve safely disposed of the old ones, of course) you can save substantial amounts of money over time by reducing the cost of using the appliance? It’s true! By investing in energy saving appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and washers and dryers you can reduce energy consumption and your electric bill substantially. Just look for the Energy Star Rating.

Light Bulbs: You may have heard the new trend in light bulbs. The incandescent bulb is costly and short lived. The newer fluorescent bulbs last up to five years or more, use less energy and have a higher output of light to brighten your home without costing you a fortune. These energy savers even come in different shapes and sizes to fit even the trendiest new light fixtures so you don’t have to sacrifice style. But remember, these bulbs, though safe, are made with trace amounts of mercury which require safe disposal if they break or need to be thrown out. For safety information, contact your local hazardous waste program.

Eco-friendly Landscaping

Save water by selecting plants suitable for Arizona’s climate.

Landscaping: We all love a lush, green yard to relax and play in, but in Arizona some grasses just aren’t desert eco-friendly. In order to make your yard more conservation-conscious think about adding some native plants and grasses to your landscaping. You may even think about getting rid of the grass altogether and xeriscaping your yard with natural rock and plantlife to reduce water consumption. Native trees and plants use less water throughout the hot summer months and can even provide respite from the heat for your yard and home, not to mention your water bill. Visit the Arizona Department of Water Resources website to find out more.

Decor: Home decoration can be more eco-friendly as well. Did you know that bamboo can be used as a durable flooring option and is considered a renewable source of energy? Bamboo forests can replenish within 4-5 years while traditional hardwood forests can take from 25 to 70 years to mature and require replanting. Bamboo also combats greenhouse gasses five times more efficiently than traditional hardwood trees such as oak and maple, while aiding in soil stabilization in farming and sewer treatment areas.

 

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