Power Up Your New Home with Renewable Energy

Author: Alecia Pirulis

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If you’ve decided to go green in your new home, start with the basics: contact your trash service and ask if they have a recycling program. Some will offer this service for free, while others may ask for a very small, one-time “container” fee. Choose the trash service that works for you.

Replace standard bulbs with fluorescents (CFLs). CFLs last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent fixtures and will save up to 75% of the initial lighting energy. If you can’t replace every bulb, start with the lights that are on most often. Lights that are rarely used or only stay on for a short time (such as the closet) don’t provide the same impact as the lights used most frequently.

Next, look at your utilities. If possible, buy green power. Most electric companies will tell you how their power is generated. Use this information to compare the various electric companies in your area. Choose the company with the highest commitment to renewable energy. These companies will supply electricity from a variety of sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. Many companies now offer a green power option. If your chosen company doesn’t, ask if they plan to offer one in the future.

A solar hot water system can be installed for your home or for your swimming pool. A solar water heating system resembles large panels that capture sunlight. Tubes in the panels carry fluid. The tubes attach to a plate that absorbs heat. The heat builds up and heats the fluid in the tubes. Using a solar hot water system is an economical way to heat your home and pool.

Once you’ve set up your green utilities, conduct a home energy assessment. You can do this yourself by looking for drafts in your home. Be sure to check around windows, along baseboards, around the front door, and along attic hatches. Caulk around openings for faucets, electric outlets, and pipes. Check the caulking around doors and windows, as well. Then, check the insulation in your home.

Taking a few steps now to ensure a green home will provide great benefits, both to the environment and to your financial stability.