Adirondack Country Homes Realty Inc.
Serving the ENTIRE Adirondack Park
Adirondack Country Homes Realty Inc. OffersGO GREEN Ideas
The USA represents only 5% of the world's population; but we consume 25% of the world's energy supplies! As you can see the facts tell us that our energy consumption needs a diet! A little truthful humor reminds us of the yester year when we didn't know the Green Movement (click here to enjoy). Click here for more food for thought!
Our own efforts will help our own bottom line and our planet. There are two way major ways in which we, as individuals, can GO GREENER and achieve personal cost savings.
1) Utilize our energy more efficiently, and
2) Conserving energy ie. lowering our own usage.
Go Green, isn't just installing bamboo flooring, or new windows; but rather a overall approach. By using a 'whole system' approach, you can detect greener ways to retrofit and power your home. A salesperson might sell you the top-of-the-line E window, but if the sills leak like a sieve, you aren't going to recognize any cost savings or any energy conservation (remember, someone had to build those windows and use more of nature's raw materials).
Below are some tips and tools to help you to GO Greener. Assist our planet with being energy efficient (using less energy to provide the same services we enjoy) and energy conservation (reducing the consumption on nonrenewable resources and emissions).
First let's start at the home front ....
1) UTILIZE OUR ENERGY MORE EFFICIENTLY - Some usual home causes of wasted energy an Energy Auditor may find:
(Disclosure: below are highlights, but a certified EA can analyze your specific home and provide the best plan for you. DIY is a good start; but the pros are the GREENER way to go!!!)
Poor insulation - an auditor can actually measure the thermal heat escaping a home. Closed cell spray form is an excellent way to retrofit an older home; and if you are using your attic, open cell foam on the roof rafters is a great way to keep that attic cooler while keeping the home warm below
Ducts - make sure all duct are clean and free of mold, check for leaks and that the seals between joints. Make sure the vents are the correct type for the home and positioned correctly within the insulation envelope. Think of the home as a envelope. Are your ducts outside the envelope going through cold air? Or is your cooling ducts in the hot attic? Keep the transportation of that energy safe!
Internal and external air leakage - The EPA states that 25 to 40% of the energy used for heating is wasted due to air leads around the building envelope. Plug the holes. It isn't just about adding insulation because if it it's installed wrong, you can actually decrease your R value you are attempting to achieve. If your Energy Audit does recommend window replacement, the southern windows capture the solar rays. Aluminum and wood are great thermal heat transfers materials, so Vinyl or insulated Energy Star Windows are worth the expense; verse repurposing old windows. The whole approach review from the Auditor will determine if insulation is best need before window replacement; and what type of window works best for your site.
Cooling systems - is your HVAC unit in the attic roasting in 120 degree? Time for some property insulation above to seal the building envelope.
Site remediation - The sun is our earth's radiator. Correct eves on the house, can make the different in correct shading. A front porch protects the first level from the sun's rays. A metal bright roof reflects the heat so your attic will be cooler. BTW, where is your HVAC unit? Is it in the attic working OT?
Get an Energy Audit! We highly recommend a personal Energy Audit. Some energy companies and municipalities offer free home energy audit programs; but if not, the cost of such an audit will easy provide returns for the homeowner and, of course, add value to your home. There are software tools also for a DIY Audit (see below). Hint: An Energy Certification home is one way to win over a buyer!
What is an Energy Audit? An Energy Auditor can identify the size, condition, type ad rate of energy consumption of each energy using devise in the household; recommend appropriate energy maintenance, operation and conservation procedures; estimate materials and labor costs associated with energy retrofits; and project the savings to be received; note any current or potential health and/or safety issues and how they can be avoided or minimized by the energy retrofits; review consumer behaviors changes that can be made to save energy waste; and provide a diagnostic tests results in written form to suggest a course of action for energy reduction. That audit report is a like a whole house energy manual.
ACHR introduces Rewire Energy Group in Saratoga Springs for your FREE energy consultation. Check the boys out (click here)
2) CONSERVE ENERGY I.E. LOWERING OUR OWN USAGE
Resident Behaviors (analysis your own habits and behaviors at home)
Appliances & lighting - Did you know that incandesce bulbs are 90% energy and 10% light? Compact fluoresce bulbs (CLF) save you 70%; LED saves 85%; and halogen 30%? Did you know that your refrigerator alone can use up to 12% of your home electrical use? Appliances over 10 years cost higher to run. If all USA lighting was switched to CLF's, we'd be able to retire 90 power plants! Definitely time to upgrade your light bulbs and when you need to upgrade your appliances to go "Energy Star" rating. All Energy Star are not alike, so read your labels! Check out your savings for LED use (click here). Utilize solar lighting, or motion sensor lighting, for your outdoor needs.
Plug load - Lower your phantom plug loads (i.e. electronic appliances use energy even when switched off or in standby mode) Consider adding a power switch to really turn off those standby power units.
Hot water heaters - Check with your Energy Auditor to see if a wrapping, or isolating the area the heater is placed is a better course than replacement first. Spending hundreds of dollars to put your new heater in a cold basement doesn't solve all your problems. Setting your tank at 120 degrees will help the savings also. Hot water heaters are about 20% of a home's energy usage. Thinking of a waterless tank? Have your auditor review the facts of the energy used to instantly heat the water, the cost of the unit itself, before going off shopping. Again, this may not be the best whole approach. Perhaps a simple aerator shower head retrofit and less lengthily showers are a better approach. The correct tankless water heater can save 50% of your costs.
Home offices - Watch the phantom loads, and consider putting a power strip to truly shut off the power.
Bedrooms - Simple motion detectors can save up to 54% of the energy for the room.
Bathrooms - Have high water usage? Consider employing aerator faucets. Shower use 17% of all indoor water usage, and a typical shower head uses 2.5 gpm. Utilizing a low flow shower head saves about 2,300 gallons a year! There are low gallon water saving commode on the market as well to add to your upgrades and save 30% water use. Did you know that running a regular faucet for 5 minutes is equal to a 60 watt bulb for 14 hours? Faucet are 15% of all water used in the home and can can consume 1.5 gallons a minute while an aerator faucet consumes 1.25 gallons a minute, saving you up to 30% without sacrificing performance.
Furnaces - Notes from National Grid about getting the most from your current heat source. (click here)
Living rooms and family rooms - In addition to changing the bulb types, adding a light sensor can increase your efficiency up to 30%. Traditional wood fireplaces pull more air out of the house than heat the house! Fire need air. So it will pull the heated air from your room. 80% of the heat you gain from the fireplace is pulled from the room; and you get about a 20% return of thermal heat from your fireplace. Historically rooms with fireplaces were small compartments, large enough for the fireplace to heat the residents; but the air quality was always low. Another idea is a simple addition of a programmable thermostat is a quick, cheap and easy retrofit that will save you energy costs. There is no need to heat the area when no one is there to enjoy it.
Kitchens - Consider when upgrading your next appliance to make it a goal to get your appliances up to "Energy Star" ratings. Start with your refrigerator that uses up to 12% of your total electric bill! Do you find yourself walking away a running faucet to get another supply? You aren't alone. Perhaps a foot pedal water saver is your cup of tea? Kitchen use on average $52/month on your water bill. Always run your dishwasher when it is full; and during the non-flu season, run on the economy setting.
Laundry - Front loaders use about 40 to 60% less water. If you are on town services, your laundry costs can add up with the old top loads. Also washing with cold water saves you 90% of your hot water energy costs If you live in a rural area, hanging your laundry the old fashion way gives you the best freshest smelling laundry around, less wear & tear on your clothes. Dryer lint makes great fire starter; but also realize the lint is a result of your clothes wearing faster!
Local Foods - Did you know you really pay three (3) times more for your cheaper nonorganic products? Once at the register, once in our taxes for farm subsidies and once again for environmental clean up caused by the chemicals. Yes, tonight's dinner roughly traveled 1,500 miles. Besides the benefits of the "Green" approach when buying local foods, your family is removing chemicals from their diet and perhaps removing more health bills also. Stop the some of the cycle and visit a Farmer's Markets, or start your own garden for your garden with some tips of irrigation below.
Irrigation - Our gardens are important to us, in both esthetics, food production, and adding value to our homes. Proper irrigation from simple recycling of the rain water goes a long way (ie. gutter rain chain, rain barrels, or using soaking lines for our gardens). With the popular sprinkler systems, 20% is evaporated; 20% falls on non-porous land. so much is lost before it us use. Changing out to a soaking system with mulch is a big saver at a low cost. Did you know? A common 200 s/f roof can capture 1,200 gallons of water with 1" of rainfall in a hour. The average family uses 400 gallons a day. 1% of all the planet's water is portable? Grey water systems can be simple to elaborate systems.
Grey water systems - Employing a grey water system (simple or elaborate) saves our planet resources and utilizes those resources efficiently. Our US water and treatment plants use enough electrical power to power 5 million homes for a year! Some simple techniques along can save on your water bill; and a grey water system can save tremendous water bills and save on our planet resources. Why do we need fresh drinking portable water to flush our toilets?
Landscaping tips - Trees and shrubs planted on wind side for protection; plants indigenous to the area and drought tolerant are great choices.
Repurposing ideas - There are hundreds of web sites to help you repurpose your own materials. YouTube is a great source of teaching you to upholstering your old chair from outgrown jeans; or transforming a jar into a vessels. Not only are you saving your own funds; but the conserving our planets resources and saving the energy it take to make a new product. Our Pininterest pins quite a few nifty ideas of repurposing. Next time you think about buying a non-recycled trivet - rethink "do I need this" or "can I get it at a second hand shop?" If you don't need it, avoid the purchase; and when others avoid the purchase as well, perhaps the vendor will fail to make more useless items and thus save our planets resources. It takes the 'whole approach' for the planet to be healthy also.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) - With tighter homes being achieved with better products, one should look at the whole building approach. Furniture, carpet, fabrics, cabinets, and adhesives are a few items that produce 'off gassing". Meaning, they will emit toxic gases and often for years. Paint, believe it or not, is the quickest to release its toxins. There are zero VOC paint, or low VOC on the market. When making choices of new cabinets, think about the glues utilized, or those fresh smelling carpets? The fresh smell is anything but good for you and probably the reason why many children are having early health concerns. It's not certain; but reducing the toxin gas in our homes needs to be considered. Choose your materials well. Look for the "Green Guard" label when purchasing your next carpet choice. (Some carpeting are backed with suspected carcinogens such as formaldehyde, touene and xylene.) Utilize Medium Dense Fiber board with no added formaldehyde for your next trim project. Strain woven bamboo flooring is 3 times stronger than oak and 2 times of maple with a 25 year warrant and zero VOC's! Repurpose building materials is an obvious.
Put some GREEN back in your wallet!
Great Video Ideas - View our Video Collection of helpful tips!
Zero Sort Recycling - Does your town have "zero sort"? Also some great repurposing ideas from Pinterest:
A Great Energy Team consist of:
RESOURCES and GLOSSARY:
Energy Efficient Mortgages - These types of mortgages uses energy savings from a new energy efficient home to increase the home buying power of the consumer and capitalizes on the energy savings in the appraisal.
Energy Improvement Mortgage - Finances the energy upgrades of an existing home in the mortgage loan using the monthly energy savings.
FHA Energy Mortgage -FHA allows homebuyers to finance the cost of adding energy efficient upgrades to existing homes with restrictions.
VA Energy Mortgage -The Department of Veterans Affairs insures energy mortgages used in conjunction with VA mortgage loans .
Fannie Mae Energy Mortgage Program -Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allows homebuyers to borrow a % of your home's appraised value for improvements documented by a HERS rater. (www.freddiemac.com) (www.freddiemac.com)
Department of Energy and EPA Energy Mortgage Programs -(www.energy.gov)
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Last Note: ACHR web sites are proudly powered by wind power! Our note paper is recycled, and we practice electronic efficiency to reduce our paper needs. Building lights are energy fluorescents and powered only when needed. Heat is set at 69 degrees, so sweaters are welcomed! ACHR upgraded the winterization of its building's rear wind side last year. Our news feed and catalog is now electronic. Our broker purchases food from local farmers. ACHR joined Ambit to reduce our electric costs. See what New York Board of Realtors thinks about energy choices. (click on "Energy Choice" article) and sign up right now to lower your electric bill.