Making your home more energy efficient reduces the use of the Earth’s non-renewable resources, helps curb pollution, allows us to breath cleaner air, and offers thousands of dollars in savings. Here are 8 ways to reduce global warming by increasing your energy efficiency.
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8 Ways to Reduce Global Warming by Increasing Your Energy Efficiency:
Your home is like a block of swiss cheese, and the goal of insulating your home is to plug as many holes (in your home’s envelope) up as possible.
There are many places that these holes exist. Start with easy and cheap insulation fixes, like electrical outlets.
2. Air Filters:
Regularly replace the filters on your furnaces and air conditioners. It requires more energy to suck air through dirty air filters because particles prevent the air from easily flowing through the filters.
Turn your thermostat down at night and when you leave the house. Wear a jacket and socks indoors to save money on your heating bill.
4. Tankless Water Heaters:
Install an on-demand (or tankless) hot water heater. These types of hot water heaters only heat water when you need it.Click here to read an article that will show you how to find rebates on appliance and energy efficiency updates to your home.
The search is based on your zip code and the rebates will be tailored to the specific area that you live in.
You can save $128 per 100 watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.
That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved!
This photo, provided by USA Today, shows the amount you will save per light bulb for each a 60-watt bulb that you replace.
6. Low Flow Water Conservation Kit:
Install a water conservation kit, which can be found at the Sustainability Shop. The water conservation kit is very inexpensive and includes low flow shower showerheads and faucet converters. This kit can save you up to 12,000 gallons of water per year (household of 4).
The Duck Brand is a winner in the do-it-yourself insulation industry. The kit allows you to cover five 3′ x 5′ windows.
How does it work? You adhere a clear film to your window and simply use a hair dryer to shrink-wrap it to the glass’ surface.
Don’t worry, the film is completely see-through. This film helps prevent drafts and heat loss which provides a drastic increase in your home’s energy efficiency and can reduce your utility bill by hundreds of dollars per year.
For additional energy efficiency, you can apply the film twice which will create an airtight lining over your window.
The film is crystal clear so you can see outside, even with two layers.
The kit contains a 62″ x 210″ crystal clear film and a 1/2-inch by 84-feet (1080″) roll of double-sided tape.
If you are not into the DIY scene, you can always go the easy route and grab theseBlackout Insulation Curtains that are specifically manufactured to insulate your home.
These curtains block out sunlight to keep the heat out during the summer. They are thick and made from 100% polyester (Faux silk), which provides thermal insulation during the winter.
Moreover, these curtains block out light (better sleep benefits) protect your furniture from color fading, and provide privacy.
They are waterproofand you can either dry clean or machine washthem.
Each package comes with 1 panel, and the dimensions are 42″ W x 63″ L.
8. Use a Fan Instead of the A/C:
Use a fan to circulate air in your home on hot days. Fans are much more energy efficient than air conditioners.
Navigating the federal, state, and local government renewable energy tax breaks (credits, deductions, and incentive) can be quite confusing. Not to mention, the added utility company’s rebates and programs. As a result, I decided to put together a roadmap, to help you navigate this rather complicated process.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
The Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit:
You better act quickly if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest renewable energy tax credit. At the end of next year (2019), it will slowly start decreasing and until 2022.
In other words, Congress could decide to extend the Renewable Energy tax credit… But, there is no guarantee that they will.
The federal renewable energy tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar or wind turbine system from your federal taxes.
As you can see, in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time and eventually disappear. However, the exception is that there will be a permanent 10% tax credit for commercial use of renewable energy systems.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear If you want to take advantage of these serious savings.
Meanwhile, if a $15,000 solar system installation sounds like its way over your budget… You aren’t alone.
The DIY solar panel system is a step-by-step video instruction guide that will teach you how to build your own solar energy system for around 25% of the cost that you would have paid a professional installer.
In other words, that’s nearly a 75% savings!
Surprisingly, you can actually build a solar energy system in your spare time for a very reasonable price. This guide will help you build each solar panel in approximately 1 hour and for around $100!
State Tax Credits:
Most statesand some city governments have tax breaks (incentives, deductions, or credits) that can be used in addition to the federal tax credit for renewable energy or energy efficiency updates to your home!
First, take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy).
It is a super handy tool for understanding federal, state, and local tax incentives. The site also includes utility company incentives for each state.
Just visit the web page and click the state that you live in 🙂
There are two solutions to the current energy dilemma:
According to EnergyStar.gov, the average home has approximately 40 lightbulbs.
You can save $128 per 100-watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.
That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved!
If you are ready to save money by making the switch, you can find 100-watt equivalent lightbulbs at the Sustainability Shop.
In short, I would highly recommend switching to LEDs over CFL lights. Unfortunately, CFL lights are made with mercury, which can become hazardous to the environment if they are not disposed of properly.
2. Programmable thermostats
Some utility companies offer rebates or incentives if you install a programmable thermostat.
If you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action by 2019. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes.
As you can see in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear!
The federal solar tax credit applies to both residential and commercial systems. What’s more is that there is no cap on its value!
The cost to install solar panels can vary greatly, based on the state and solar installation company you use.
A professionally installed solar energy system can cost upward of $20k, but there are two ways to minimize this cost.
Don’t want to spend $20k on a solar energy system? That’s ok. Read on 🙂
Lease vs. Build it Yourself
1. You can opt for a solar lease agreement– A company like Solar City will install solar panels for free. Then you purchase the power from the solar power company at a lower rate than you are currently paying your utility company.
This means that you still have to purchase electricity from a company. Instead of purchasing your energy from your utility company (that probably gets its electricity from coal and other fossil fuels), you will be getting electricity from a renewable source (the sun).
If that doesn’t settle your mind from worry, know that the DYI Home Energy System Guide comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
You can always watch the video and return it if you think that you won’t be able to complete the project. This way you can see what you are getting into before making for a final decision (worry-free).
Jeff really emphasizes that you will be purchasing professional grade building materials to construct your solar power system.
He explains that the reason why there is such a large cost differencebetween having a professional installer build your unit and building it on your own is that you are paying for the labor, know-how, and additional mark up.
Companies need to generate a profit, and as you probably know the standard mark up for retailers (from a wholesale distributor to a retail store) is 50% of the cost of the product.
DIY Solar Energy System Vs. A Solar Lease:
As you know, I am a huge advocate of renewable energy. Up till this article, I always thought that the cost to install a solar energy system was way too expensive to make financial sense.
Typically, a standard solar energy system lasts around 25 years, and the average payback period is 15-20 years.
So purchasing your own system doesn’t really make sense, unless you plan on living in your home for 25 years. Most people end up moving within that time and won’t have the opportunity to recover that investment cost.
This is why I had opted to go with the solar lease option (for my home in Las Vegas).
Now that I have found this solution, I really do believe that I could have bribed a few friends with a home cooked meal to help me build a solar energy system for cheaper than the cost of purchasing electricity through my solar lease.
Because the DYI Home Energy System is so much cheaper to build, you will hit the breakeven point on the cost of the unit much quicker.
Some of the Benefits of a DIY Solar Project:
1. Energy independence. Who cares if the utility companies decide to raise electricity costs? Not you!
What’s more is that you can sell your excess electricity to the utility company.
2. Low to no maintenance. Once you build your renewable energy solar system, there is little to no maintenance required.
Build a solar energy system for a fraction of the cost you would have otherwise had to pay a professional installer.
A Few Minor Drawbacks:
Just like with any major remodel, you will need to have your solar energy system inspected by an official city inspector.
The inspector will probably have you fix a thing or two, which will require him to come back and re-inspect another day… Don’t take it personally, stay strong, and make any required corrections to pass that inspection. Just think of this step as part of the process.
If you include this step in your mental accounting process, you won’t think of it as a pain in the butt. Instead, think of it as just part of what needs to happen to make sure you have a safe solar energy system.
You really do want a city inspector to come by to make sure that you installed your system correctly... After all, you are playing with electricity.
The only negative review I have seen thus far is by Solarreviews.com. Upon further research, I found that the website is owned by a solar installation company. Of course, It is in their best interest to have you pay them to install solar panels for you.
Every DIY project is going to some take time and require a little perseverance. The instructional videos are very thorough, and you will have to set aside time to watch them. Of course, building a solar energy system yourself will also take time.
If you can find 2-3 weekends to devote to building your own energy system, you can save a ton of money with the DYI Home Energy System guide.
Remember, by building your own solar unit you are able to save money because you are the labor (instead of paying someone else to put in the labor).
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Renewable energy is the way of the future. As a society, we need to make the switch away from fossil fuels.
Take the pledge to become a Sustainability Hero. Living in harmony with the planet has health, environment, and budget benefits.
Remember to visit the sustainability shop, which includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
It seems like the topic of climate change and resource depletion is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but no one really knows what to do about it. I have compiled the UN’s most important blueprint actions for achieving a happier and healthier world while adding a few of my own tips to create the Ultimate Guide to Prevent Global Warming.
By implementing these simple actions we can manifest a change for a better future. The UN has created a campaign called the “Be the Change Initiative” that provides an opportunity for all of us to better “walk the talk”.
I have created a “Sustainability Shop” and have done the work of reading the labels and reviews to offer you the best sustainable products on the market.
This collection of sustainable living products have been amassed in one place for your convenience. The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
I want to encourage you to reuse your current belongings until they are either broken or no longer useful (and you need to replace them).
The exception to this is if what you are currently using produces lots of one-time use waste or is harmful to your health.
If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine. Yes, you should still scrape all of the food off before putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Dishwashers today use high heat to take off any food residue left on dishes.
Reuse your holiday decorations. Unfortunately, the holidays are the most wasteful time of the year. Just think of all the one-time-use cups, plates, utensils, decorations, gift wrapping, etc. Look for ways to plan eco-friendly parties and events.
I love the holidays and the idea of spending time with friends and family just as much as you do. Let’s be responsible about how we plan our events so that Mother Nature can have a happy holiday too!
Tile Floors in High Traffic Areas:
This flooring option has many benefits.
First, tile floors basically last forever (unless you drop a sledgehammer on it and crack the tile itself).
Second (real estate investment tip), due to its durability tile is great for rental properties.
Third, you won’t need to keep replacing the flooring like you would with carpet. This will save you money in the long run and reduces the amount of trash going to our landfills.
Fourth, tile is great for easy cleanup. Liquids can be easily mopped up and won’t stain the floor.
Fifth, tile keeps your home cool in the summer. Add rugs in the winter for a cozy warmer feel. Carpets in the bedroom and rugs in the living areas keep your home warm, your thermostat low, and will save you a chunk of change.
Step 2: Your Daily Routine
Request that vendors stop sending paper statements. Pay your bills online or via mobile. Remember, every sheet of paper leads to more forest destruction.
Use cardboard matches. Unlike plastic gas-filled lighters, they don’t require any petroleum.
Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum keeps landfills from growing.
Buy minimally packaged goods, goods that are packaged in eco-friendly materials, and packaging and products made from recycled materials.
Many of the products found in the Sustainability Shop are packaged in cardboard, recycled paper, or do not have packaging at all.
Bike, walk or take public transportation. Save the car trips for when you can carpool or need to go long distances.
Moreover, the conversion kits pay for themselves and take 2 minutes to install. Its small actions like these that make the biggest differences.
Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine.
If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
When you finish drinking a cup of cold water/juice, water a plant with your leftover ice cubes. 🙂
Here are a few surprising facts about water by The Infographics Show that I bet you didn’t know.
Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste up to 11,000 liters of water per year?
Fixing leaky faucets can save water, energy to filter/transport the water to your home, chemicals to remediate the water after it has been used, and reduce your utility bill 🙂
Lastly, remember to turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth.
Step 4: The Kitchen
Shopping for food locally supports neighborhood businesses and keeps people employed. Moreover, it helps prevent trucks from driving far distances to transport food.
Food that is sourced locally tastes better because it is fresher and was able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
Shop Smart, plan meals, and use shopping lists to avoid impulse buys.
Remember these? What exactly are they for? How many of these will end up in a landfill 3 years from now?
Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need. Although you may save money by purchasing perishable items in bulk, it does you no good if you end up not eating them because they have over ripened or grown mold.
Buy Funny Fruit 🙂 Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
Remember, it takes water, transportation, fertilizer, and labor to grow these funny fruits. They need love too!
You can find bento lunchboxes, reusable glass containers, biodegradable lunch bags, and reusable silicon bags for food storage in the Sustainability Shop.
Don’t forget to freeze fresh produce and leftovers, if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to produce meat than plants. You can learn more about the Reducetarian Diet and how the meat industry produces more carbon than the transportation industry in the library section of the Sustainability Shop.
Step 5: Grow Your Own Food and Compost
Composting food scraps can reduce waste that would otherwise need to be transported to a landfill.
Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.
Nutrients from a compost pile is healthier for you and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Save money today by becoming a Sustainability Hero.
Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.
UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.
This means that we need to drastically cut back on our carbon output and even start carbon sequestering campaigns to meet this goal.
Take action today, and remember to visit the sustainability shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.
Reduce your single-use waste output and take the Sustainability Pledge.
Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.