Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Green Home Upgrades

Outunit of heat pumpImage via Wikipedia Interior design is about the total home. Long gone are the days when interior designers only had to decorate, renovate and re-design a home structurally. Now, they have to move into the green era of home improvements that are eco-friendly as well. As society becomes more environmentally savvy, they want their homes to reflect this as well. Today, more than ever, people are looking for eco-friendly home improvements that aren't only better for the environment but also wallet friendly as well. There are many options available if you are considering a few upgrades for your home. These upgrades can also boost home value, and be a great selling feature if you are planning to sell.

Older wooden windows are not the worst environmentally negative thing in your home, however, they do tend to let far more energy escape from your home and need a lot of maintenance. Always opt for energy star qualified replacement windows that are made with Low E glass.
Low E glass has a metallic coating inside the panes and lowers the windows ability to transfer heat. Low Emission windows have other great features too, including easy to open,install, and cleaning with tilt-in varieties. Low E Windows can save a homeowner as much as $500 a year when replacing single pane windows.
Did you know just changing out your old thermostat for a programmable new one can save you? According to some research, changing your old thermostat out for a programmable one can prevent enough CO2 emissions to remove upwards of 600 cars on the road a year! If everyone did this can your imagine the impact?
Get rid of that old water heater-
Water heaters are huge energy consumers in your home. The benefits of tank-less water heaters are many. They can replace huge bulky tanks and can fit in a closet, under a cabinet or even under a sink. Large tank heaters have to store gallons of water at a time and stay running to keep the water hot. Tank-less water heaters can help you save up to 20% on your energy bill too, and heats water as you need it, which doesn't waste near the energy. New home buyers are environmentally savvy and will find your eco-friendly upgrades a definite quality. There are of course improvements in electric water heaters that use tanks as well. Including some that use heat pump technology to produce hot water faster, and use much less energy than the standard water heater uses. Either way, you can expect to save money, energy and also have a great feature to add to your homes list if you decide to sell.
Heating and Air Conditioning-
Needless to say if your unit is old it is well worth it to change this out. There are many great options in heat pumps out there, and to be completely honest, if you are replacing an old model with a new one, you probably are going to save money with out a lot of research in the matter.  If you are really interested in getting something that will take it even further consider researching the new Geothermal Heat Pumps. Innovative in design and concept, a geothermal heat pump uses the ground as a transfer medium since it is denser than air and thus makes it far more efficient. Think in terms of how your refrigerator works, with a compressor that moves the heat outside of the fridge and refrigerant cools it down and re-circulates the cold back into the unit. The geothermal heat pump, works in much the same way, but instead of coils on the back of the unit, they are buried in the ground, how neat is that?
Your Refrigerator-
Since your refrigerator is one of the few appliances that is in your home that runs everyday, 365 days a year, it is no wonder it is one of the biggest energy "gobblers" out there. In fact, they consume around 14 percent of all the energy used in your home. So with that in mind it makes sense to replace an old one in your home. Did you know bottom freezer refrigerators use less energy than side by side refrigerators, up to 16 percent? This percentage may in fact be higher since the data on this information is several years old, as is much data in research is. If you truly want an upgrade that is truly energy efficient, and does actually use less energy, opt for bottom freezer models. To take it that extra mile in energy saving ability, opt out of the automatic ice makers, or chose those that have the ability to be turned off. Ice makers alone use up to 25 percent more energy. This makes ice trays look a little better don't they, if not, a lot wiser. Try also to look for a smaller model if at all possible. Many larger models are need extra housing capabilities for more drawers, shelves etc., but actually don't store any more actual food. Try going for one a little smaller, the price tag will smile at you a little more, and the extra money will let you get that stainless steel model that everyone else has.
To get ideas on how to update your home and become eco friendly, visit HGTV for all the latest ideas in eco friendly upgrades and designs for your home.

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