Green Your Home the Easy Way

By M Siddique

With fears and concerns growing over the environment and global warming, many people are opting to go green these days. Especially in the real estate business, greening your home can be another great selling point to potential buyers. Here's a way to green your home without spending a lot of green:

Green Water Heater- Did you know that hot water accounts for up to 13% of your typical utility bill? There are two very simple ways to potentially save energy, lower bills, and save the environment.

Wrap your hot water heater with a layer of insulation. For a nominal cost of $15 you can reduce heat loss through the walls of the tank by up to 40%.

Reduce the temperature of the thermostat to 120 degrees. Doing this can save you 10% or next bill.

Low-E Window Films- Another very simple way to save on energy bills is to install low emissions window film. When the film is applied one way, it keeps solar radiation out of the home, keeping it cooler during summer months. When applied the other way, the film holds radiation inside, keeping it warmer during the winter months. This is a great DIY project since the films are easy to apply and can save you potentially 60% of the heat lost through windows.

Detox Paint- Up until just recently, many paints contained highly toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The risk associated with this paint is that it can emit hazardous gases into the air and potentially cause adverse health effects. Not a great thing, especially if you have children. Many people are becoming increasingly aware of VOC paint and do not want them their homes. Applying non-toxic paint to your walls can also be a great selling point to a potential buyer with children.

Green Mortgage- In 1979, President Carter signed an executive order directing federally-sponsored secondary market institutions to offer consumers incentives for energy-efficient homes. Energy Efficient Mortgages allow homeowners to use their commitment to the environment to leverage bigger loans for both. To qualify, you'll need to provide a Home Energy Rating System report. HERS reports indicate that your house meets all energy efficiency guidelines.

Green Washing Machine- Ideally, replacing your machine with a front loading, Energy Star label washer can use 50% less water and save you $120 a year. However, if you cannot afford to buy a whole new machine simply using cold water and waiting until you have a full load every time can save you a lot of energy and potentially a lot of green.

Get Unplugged- Did you know that even if you turn off a device, leaving it plugged in will still drain electricity? A television can draw in 12 watts even after you've turned it off! That means when you're done with the coffee pot, hair dryer, microwave, etc. just pull the plug and start saving money! Try plugging in your electronics to a power strip; when you're done, just switch it off.

Green Your Lights- This one is just common sense. Switch your old light bulbs with new compact fluorescent bulbs. Though the compact fluorescent bulbs do cost a little more than conventional bulbs, it will pay for itself in just a few months. Not only will these bulbs save you money, they will prevent 450 pounds of power-plant emissions being released into the atmosphere over the bulbs lifetime.