Tips for Living Green - Service First Mortgage

Green living is increasing in popularity each year.  There is a variety of products and ways to make your home more eco-friendly without being too much of a burden on your wallet. Dropping costs in green technology are helping make these investments more popular and available to more and more homeowners. Learn more about how you can improve your carbon footprint with the following “green” ideas.

Solar Powered Misting System

For years, businesses have been utilizing technology that blasts a veil of cool water around their HVAC units to cool the air before it gets sucked into the ventilation system. Now, residential customers can experience the same technology for their homes. The system automatically detects the conditions, and when the time is right, prompts the spray bars on each side of the condenser unit to spring into action.  Average users have reported saving 30% on their air conditioning costs each month. This “cool” little device is also eligible for a 30% federal eco-friendly tax credit!

Solar Energy

The sun is the ultimate source of clean, low-cost energy.  Combined with other green building ideas, solar power can generate enough energy for you to start selling some back to your utility company. If that isn’t incentive enough, there also are grants, tax breaks and other government incentives related to the use of solar power in your home.

Eco-Friendly Lighting

LED lightbulbs are 85% more energy efficient than regular bulbs and can often last around 9 years. Replace your bulbs with LED and help improve your carbon footprint.  Additionally, you can use Smart Plugs that tap into your WiFi network to wirelessly control your home devices.  Many will also monitor your energy use and provide real-time feedback about how much energy each device is using.

Rely on Recycling and Sustainable Materials

There are many options for using recycled or sustainable materials when constructing your house.  Total-fill insulation made from recycled materials pays off in the short term and the long run.  Cotton, wool, wood pulp and soybean byproducts are a few of the materials you’ll find as spray-in or roll insulation.  Some of these materials not only save you money over time, but perform as well as or better than first-use insulation.   There are many other recycled materials such as reclaimed wood and countertops made from recycled glass, aluminum and even soda cans. Additionally, you can even use recycled steel or recycled wood/plastic composite, which are high quality, durable products that can reduce the amount of new lumber used in your home.

Using sustainable materials can reduce your impact on the environment. For example, wood is a renewable resource so consider whether your supplier follows sustainable planting practices. Flooring is another great example where environmentally friendly products are offering improved home insulation ratings and climate control efficiency. Some of these options include bamboo, cork and linoleum, which is made of natural, renewable materials.

Future of Thermostats

Highly programmable thermostats are becoming the standard for home everywhere. These high tech thermostats can be programmed to adjust heating and cooling based on the conditions of the day or your schedule.  They can even be scheduled to take into account when no one is home or for vacations.  Many can be controlled through an app on your smartphone.  These types of thermostats reduce your heating and cooling bills, as well as allowing your HVAC system to work more efficiently.

Green Windows

According to the Department of Energy, 25% of your heating bill is your heater working harder due to inefficient windows allowing the warm air to escape.  If you’re building a home or remodeling your current home, consider installing double-paned windows that are government-rated as Energy Star products.  These energy efficient windows will keep the temperature in your home more stable without overworking your HVAC in the process.

Water Conservation

There are multiple ways you can conserve water in your home.  One way is by installing WaterSense labeled products such faucets, toilets, and showerheads. These products are certified to use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.

Another way to conserve water is by utilizing a smart wifi sprinkler system which gives you complete control over your property’s water system. It connects to the internet and uses your location and upcoming weather patterns to determine the optimal time to water.  These systems report their users save a third more than similar systems that are not internet connected.