Since today is Earth Day, we decided to do our part to encourage sustainability and energy efficiency in the home.
Here are some facts and tips for homeowners that can make your home more energy efficient and save you money in the long-run:
• The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the average house releases twice the amount of carbon dioxide as the average car.
• Replace leaky, single-pane windows with high-efficiency Energy Star certified windows to save on heating costs.
• Through the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), homeowners can qualify for a tax credit of up to $500 on energy-efficient building materials.
• . The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a homeowner can save 10 percent or more in heating costs by installing energy insulation systems. According to a Harvard study, more than 45 million U.S. homes are under-insulated.
• Conduct a home energy audit to locate obvious air leaks around baseboards or electrical box outlets and learn where you are losing energy in your home.
• Replace leaky toilets and older appliances with more high-tech solutions, including low-flow faucets and showers, and dual-flush toilets.
• Save up to 80 percent of the energy required to wash clothes by using cold water.
• Use a smart power strip to shut down all electronics and appliances because many still use energy even when they are switched off.
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Going “green” is becoming the new norm in the construction industry. The demand for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings is growing.
According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the green market accounted for just 2 percent of all new non-residential construction projects in 2005. That number grew to 12 percent by 2008 and had climbed all the way up to about 30 percent just last year.
The US Green Building Council estimates that by 2015 at least 40 percent of all new non-residential construction will be built to meet LEED certification.
Happy Earth Day!