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6 Ways to Make Your Home Greener!

In honor of Earth Day this week, here are 6 tips to make your home greener and more energy efficient.

1.) Turn your home into a passive house 

Homes can have a LEED certification that shows how green the construction process was to build the house, including the materials used.  However, that doesn't show the energy efficiency of the house while being lived in.  Making your house passive essentially means to seal the house completely.  “A passive house minimizes heating and cooling needs because it is sealed air-tight, meaning temperature-controlled air doesn’t leak out,” explains Ewen Utting, a passive-house builder in San Francisco.  This would be a major renovation for most people to completely seal off their entire home, but there are a few less expensive and even free things you can do to reap some of the energy efficient benefits.  Some of the less expensive routes you can take are replacing old windows with double or triple pane windows, placing reflective material on windows to combat the heat during the summer, and replacing outside door thresholds.  A simple and free thing most people can do to reduce the temperature leaks in their home is to make sure windows are locked when closed.  This creates a better seal and is completely easy and free. 

 2.) Upgrade your house with smart home devices

In today's modern age, buying smart devices that you can control from your phone has become very easy.  Major retailers like Home Depot and Lowes will typically have a whole section in their stores full of smart home devices.  From your phone, you can control everything from outlets to the lights in your home with a push of the button.  Leaving lights on in your home will cause a significant increase in your energy bill and with smart devices you can turn things off from anywhere in the world.  Adding a smart thermostat can drastically reduce your energy bill and some can even learn your heating and cooling preferences!

3.) Select the right interior paint

Many paints contain volatile organic compounds that easily vaporize and can pose health risks to the occupants of the home.  “Because of the way the government defines VOCs, many concerning chemicals aren't covered.  Instead, choose paints that are no-VOC and don’t contain solvents, ethylene glycol, acetone, or formaldehyde,” says Jason Holstine owner of Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, MD.  Some safe brands to use are AFM Safecoat, Mythic, Colorhouse, ECOS, and Bioshield.

4.) Use native species in your landscaping

Using species of plants and grass for your lawn that are native to your area can reduce water usage from 50%-70%.  This can save you thousands of dollars a year and approximately 60 hours a year in maintaining your lawn.  "The most eco-friendly backyard features plant and grass species that are native to the area where you live.  They thrive without chemical pesticides and fertilizers and need little water.  Rainfall during a normal year is usually enough." says Cassy Aoyagi of FORM LA Landscaping.  Colorado has many native plants and grass species giving you tons of options on how you can landscape your yard with native species.

5.) Install solar panels

Solar panels might not be an option for everyone.  However, the state of Colorado does offer some great incentives and rebates if you choose to go the route of solar panels.  If you are unsure whether your house would be a good fit for solar panels, head over to Google's Project Sunroof and input your address.  Google's Project Sunroof will instantly tell you how much sunlight your home gets per year, how much money you will save per year, and how many square feet your home has available for solar panels.  You can also head over to Sungevity to get a more in-depth breakdown and create your own custom solar energy system.

6.) Get an energy audit done

Every home is different and needs to be upgraded for energy efficiency in its own way.  The average cost of an energy auditor is around $373, but often times the rebates you receive from your utility company will cover the cost of the audit.  Head over to Residential Energy Services Network to find your certified energy auditor.  Some auditors are certified to give your home a home energy rating system index rating.  Lowering your home's index number will likely raise the resell value of your home.

Source: By Dillon Landfried - Apr 26, 2019

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