Green is more than a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity that all homeowners should consider. The Earth’s gradually dwindling resources and the increased presence of greenhouse gases are both threats can be countered, or at the very least, slowed down by the decision to live green. Non-green homes waste massive amounts of energy every year in the United States.
According to a Residential Energy Consumption Survey taken in 2010 and 2011, air conditioning and heaters make up 48% of energy use on the United States. By increasing the insulation of your home, you can decrease the amount of energy wasted cooling and heating your home during the summer and winter. You can increase your insulation with window film, placing insulation in your walls and floors, and planting trees and vines outside your home.
1. Window Film
You may love your home’s windows, but you might love them less when you realize that they raise your heating and cooling bill by 10 to 25% percent every summer and winter. Once you realize that that 10 to 25% rise in prices also leads to a loss of resources, you might be even more put out. You can reduce this monetary and energy waste by applying window film to the interior of your windows. Window film once applied reduces the amount of light and heat allowed into the house through the windows. Homes with low emission window film reduce the amount of heat allowed into the home by 75%.
White blinds, curtains, or weather stripping can be used to increase the insulation of your windows. If you do not plan on insulating all your windows, you should focus on your home’s south facing windows.
Not insulating your walls and floors properly can result in your house losing up to 27-32% of its heat in the winter. Insulating your walls, floors, ceiling, and crawl space can reduce your cooling and heating bill by 10-30%. The monetary savings will also contribute to your home wasting less energy.
Before you insulate your home, you should make sure that the material you should make sure that the material contributes to a healthy environment and is created in an environmentally friendly way. Here are four eco-friendly insulation options:
- Wool Insulation
- Cellulose Insulation
- Recycles Paper Insulation
- Recycled Denim
3. Plants Outside House
The final strategy that you can use to increase the insulation of your home is to plant trees and vines on your property. Placing plants in the right area will create natural shade that will reduce the air temperature around your home by 3-6 degrees. Between the lower temperature and the shade produced by plants, energy loss can be reduced by 25% in your home.
Plants should be placed on the south and west sides of your home. This position will reduce heat gain in the summer while allowing your home to continue to gain heat from the sun in winter.
- Deciduous trees will provide shade in the winter and allow your home to receive the benefit of heat in the winter. They should be planted at least 10 feet from your home to prevent foundation damage as the roots spread.
- Climbing vines can be allowed to grow up a lattice or trellis to shade windows and offer extra wall insulation. Vines should not be planted directly against homes with wood or composite siding because it will trap moisture and cause rot. It must also be noted that there are rare cases where vines will chip brick and cause structural damage to a building due to excessive weight. If you plant vines you should carefully monitor them.
Insulation is every environmentally conscious individual’s best friend. If you have yet to green-up your home by increasing the insulation, it might be time to plan a renovation project. The renovation will be an environmentally friendly move that will decrease the amount of energy and money wasted due to heat gain and loss.