As gas prices increase more homebuyers are moving closer to the city, their jobs and hubs of activity to decrease travel costs for themselves and the whole family. As more people embrace urban environments green building and eco-friendly renovations that work for existing houses, town homes, condos and apartments are in higher demand. Whether you have a large budget or almost no budget, there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs. Green home remodeling can benefit you, the environment and the future of our entire world.
The Truth About Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
There is a lot of controversy these days about the green value of compact fluorescent light bulbs, better known as those spiral light bulbs that only use a small percentage of the wattage traditional light bulbs. As a positive, these light bulbs do not use nearly as much electricity as traditional bulbs and often last for years at a time. Then it was reported that if these bulbs are broken a small amount of mercury is released. Despite the harmful impact mercury has on the environment the positives of these bulbs outweigh the negatives. Although these bulbs contain a small amount of mercury the amount of electricity they save greatly reduces the amount of mercury released by electrical plants. When using compact fluorescent bulbs take extra care not to break them and dispose of them carefully. Recycling of compact fluorescents has started in various parts of the US. If possible find a recycling center near you
Make the Most Out of Your Surge Protectors and Power Strips
Many appliances, including computer equipment, stereos, TV’s and cell phone chargers all draw electrical energy even when turned off. If they sit plugged in all the time electricity is wasted. In order to avoid this waste purchase surge protector power strips for various areas and plug multiple items into the strips. Make sure the power strips are easy to reach and when printers, speakers, computers, radios, cell phone chargers, toasters, coffee makers, etc are not in use unplug the power strip and electricity will be conserved. This may seem like a simple tactic, but imagine if everyone became aware of this small electrical drain and took action. Our carbon footprint as a country would decrease dramatically. When it comes to energy conservation every lit bit counts.
The Best Ways to Heat Your Water
If you own your condo, apartment or home in the city one of the best ways to save energy and money is to purchase a tankless water heater. Energy efficient water heaters save thousands of dollars during the first three to five years. This kind of feature will also work as an excellent incentive for buyers if you sell in the future. If a new water heater isn't in the budget consider turning off your water heater when you are out of town or purchase and install a timer. Most often even older water heaters maintain hot water for approximately 24-48 hours after they have been turned off. Why pay for hot water when you are not using it? Another simple idea is to lower the temperature on your existing water heater. Many older water heaters are set at a scalding 140 degrees. Lowering the thermostat will conserve energy and it’s totally free.
Low Flow Toilets and Tricks to Conserve Water
Leaky toilets and the water waste caused by older toilets is common in existing homes and commercial properties. Older toilets often use between 3 and 5 gallons per flush. To check and see if your toilet is leaking place food coloring in the back of the tank, after an hour without flushing if the bowl turns color you have found a leak. If you have the money a low flow toilet is your best bet. Made specifically for energy efficiency, low flow toilets are another excellent selling point. If you have a small budget or no budget consider this well-known trick. Take any weighted, solid object, like a glass jar, and place it in your toilet tank. This object will take up space so your tank fills with less water than usual. Instead of 3 to 5 gallons each flush you will now use less.
Stay tuned for “Green in the City Part 2” for more great green tips on how to conserve energy and save money.
Elaine VonCannon is an award winning REALTOR with RE/Max Capital in Williamsburg, Virginia. She specializes in retirement and relocation in the Williamsburg, South Eastern Virginia area and in Virginia Estate properties. To learn more visit http://www.voncannonrealestate.com or http://www.estatesinvirginia.com