You probably pay attention to
your car’s gas mileage, but what about your home? How much energy does your
home consume? There are countless ways to save money and energy around your
home. Read on to explore your own carbon footprint and check out our simple
tips and tricks for becoming eco-friendly at home.
Understanding Home Energy
Understanding your carbon
footprint means understanding the ways you can save energy. Some people shop
for food based on the amount of energy that was used to grow and transport it.
Some people consider purchasing “carbon offsets” to reduce their own carbon
footprint. But what about your home? How much of a difference does it make?
Your carbon footprint measures
the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by your activities. This
includes any vehicles you travel in and the production and transportation of
any products you buy. It also includes your use of lights, appliances and
electrical units. Your carbon footprint is measured in pounds or tons of CO2
per year. Home energy use accounts for about one quarter of your total carbon
footprint. This can vary depending on how much you travel, what you buy, what
energy consuming devices you use, and the kinds of energy sources available to
power your home.
Making Smart Investments
Converting to energy efficient
products and appliances can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Sixteen
percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from the energy
used in homes. The conversion to an energy efficient home can be an expensive
one: replacing your windows or furnace can make a huge difference, but it may
cost you a significant upfront sum. However, there are ways to save energy at a
fair price: check out our energy efficient strategies
for tips on cost effective upgrades for heating, lighting and more.
Remodeling Your Home Sustainably
If you want to sustainably
remodel your home for energy efficiency, you’ll need a contractor who
understands green efficiency strategies and sustainable materials. That way,
you can reduce your carbon footprint and improve comfort all around your
Be on guard about contractor
promises. Many will say that their work is environmentally friendly simply to
attract business. Ask about sustainable materials and keep reading for more
information on the sustainable strategies a green contractor might use.
One common strategy for
efficiency is daylighting. Daylighting makes the most of natural light to
improve your home’s aesthetic while reducing the need for electrical lighting. Click here for energy saving lighting solutions.
If you are going to remodel,
take the opportunity to insulate and air seal hard to reach places (like inside
the walls). Get an energy audit before your remodel planning starts so you can
make sure your general contractor addresses all the best efficiency
opportunities. Check out our insulation and air
sealing strategies to get the most out of your heating and cooling
If you want to make a long-term
investment in producing your own energy to reduce your carbon footprint and
protect yourself from rising utility costs, consider renewable energy. For
example, installing solar panels on your home and undergoing a home energy
retrofit to reduce your electrical consumption at the same time is a smart way
to make yourself more energy independent. Generating solar power in an
efficient home will maximize the amount of renewable energy you generate and
potentially sell back to your utility. Under the right conditions, installing a
small residential wind turbine also may give you the opportunity to produce
your own green energy.
Ready to start your project?
Click here for useful tips