Sunday, February 2, 2014

Five Ways To Go Green With Your Everyday Utilities

Implementing environmentally-friendly practices in your home needn't be complicated or expensive. Making a few simple changes and opting for more efficient upgrades lessens your carbon footprint, helps conserve resources, and lowers your energy costs. Here are five ways to "green up" your utilities:
    1. Lower Water Use

Water is one of our most precious natural resources, but it is also the most wasted. A small leak can turn into an expensive problem quickly, wasting up to 20 gallons of water every day it goes unrepaired. When upgrading, choose low-flow plumbing fixtures, and install aerators on your faucets; they help to conserve water while maintaining strong water pressure.
    1. Turn Off and Tune Up

Chargers and computers siphon electricity even when turned off. Unplug them, or install a "smart" power strip to cut off phantom energy drain. Switch out traditional light bulbs for highly efficient CFLs. Install dimmer switches and motion activated lights throughout your home. For long-term conservation, upgrade to Energy Star rated appliances. Contact your power company to see if they offer green power products like solar panels. Some solar systems can reduce energy use by 50 percent or more.
    1. Regulate the Temperature

Light bulbs give off 90 percent of their energy in heat; simply turning off lights can actually lower cooling costs. Clean or change your furnace filters and have your system inspected regularly. Seal and insulate air ducts to eliminate leaks. Install a programmable thermostat to better regulate your home's temperature; keep it set between 65 and 68 degrees in winter to lower energy costs by up to 10 percent.
    1. Insulate and Upgrade

Insulate water pipes in unheated areas as well as those leading to the water heater. Gas water heaters are one the highest sources of home energy use; as they age, sediment buildup reduces their efficiency. When it's time to replace the water heater, consider a tankless model instead. Many are 98 percent energy efficient as they only heat water when needed. Utah tankless water heaters can be installed by local HVAC specialists.
    1. Conserve Energy for Cleaner Air

Modern homes are generally airtight and can trap harmful vapors inside. Conserving fossil fuels also cleanses our air. Improve air quality by maintaining healthy humidity levels, changing filters frequently, and having heating systems checked for harmful emissions. Invest in a variety of houseplants to naturally freshen your home without unhealthy chemicals.

Small changes can have a big impact on our environmental health; it is up to all of us to protect our limited resources. Start at home with these simple steps to become good stewards of our ecosystem.

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