Sunset Boulevard and Vine, circa 1900.
Okay, so you recycle, cut down on your plastic consumption, carpool to work – you may have ‘gone green’, but what about your home? If your domicile hasn’t undergone an efficiency makeover lately, it might be time to get a handyman onto your property to ready your house for a more sustainable future. Let’s look at a few tips for upgrading your home’s eco-friendly status…
The statistics on how many gallons of water the average person uses are mind-blowing. Luckily, green-minded plumbers have become a booming industry of late.
- Installing low-flow shower heads and toilets will cut your water bill substantially.
- Snugly insulating your water heater will do the same.
- If you’ve got a leaky faucet, call a local professional handyman and nip that drip in the bud immediately.
- Depending on where you live and your level of commitment, a rainwater collection device could even be utilized in the home.
- Installing a water filter, to cut down on bottle consumption, can also be wise.
Normandie and Franklin, 1939.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Lighting fixtures that save energy are available in a wider variety than ever. Even antiques can be re-wired to maximize their sustainable properties.
- By this point, you probably have compact fluorescent bulbs – they’re practically the law.
- Consider installing motions sensors to make sure lights aren’t on longer than they should be.
- Solar power can be ideal, but it’s also quite spendy. Smaller touches, like just your outdoor lights, can be a good compromise.
Appliances and Insulation
Unless you’re going entirely “off the grid” – you’ll want to make sure your living space is being utilized as efficiently as possible.
- If your dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, washer/dryer aren’t eco-friendly, bite the bullet and have ones that are installed. It will save energy and, in the long run, money.
- Sealing your heating and cooling ducts (with a non-toxic sealant like mastic compound) can mean dramatically lower utility bills. This goes double for attics.
- Be very wary of your windows – they love to sabotage utility bills, too. Installing thicker paned-glass, weather-stripping and low-VOC caulk can help.
- Programmable timers on thermostats can also reduce wasted heat or AC.
Cable car on Broadway and 2nd, 1889.
Sustainable Structural Material
Your 1920’s bungalow might have the coziest breakfast nook in the county, but if the structural material isn’t sustainable, there are tips for renovating with an eco-friendly mindset.
- Green-minded professional contractors are easier to find than ever, but you’ll still want to do your research.
- Reclaimed wood and other materials have become a big business in the last five years. Bamboo, acacia and cork can all be harvested sustainably as well.
- Get that ancient particle board of moldy carpet out of there. It can do more than effect your eco-friendly status – it can actually alter your health for the worse.
So, kick it into gear: look into your local LEED services, contact your utility providers to discuss your options and, if you’re one of the many who just don’t have enough time in a day to make all this happen, call a local handyman, plumber or electrician to give you a hand upgrading your home’s energy efficiency. We’ll never tell.