By Neena Vlamis, President of A and N Mortgage

Green Home Tips

Go Green

There is no denying in today’s society there is more awareness and interest in being green and as such people are becoming more interested in using green building techniques. Key components include using energy efficiency techniques, sustainable building materials and energy efficient appliances in homes that help to lower cost and environmental impact.

Tip 1

Heating and cooling interior spaces can account for as much as 50 percent of a home’s energy use. Since that percentage is so high insulation becomes an increasingly important component in having a green home. Poor insulation equals wasted energy and higher energy costs. Some things that can be done to improve energy efficiency include using spray insulation to seal air gaps in walls and attics. Building exterior walls with 6-inch-wide studs instead of the traditional 4-inch studs will also help the cause. The use of caulk to seal all gaps around doors and windows is a must. And of course, use Energy Star-rated low energy windows.

Tip 2

One way to have a more energy efficient design is to keep the sun and wind in mind when designing your home. Using overhangs to help shade windows in summer while allowing sun to warm the house in winter are smart and money saving ideas. Planting shade trees near the south-facing sides of buildings can also help. A well placed skylight or two can help by increasing natural light in the home and allowing you to keep those light switches in the off position.

Tip 3

If you are really serious about your home being green the use of sustainable materials is a must. One way to really do your part is to use reclaimed lumber. Reclaimed lumber is lumber that has previously been used to build houses and factories. It is thought that reclaimed lumber is stronger than today’s lumber due to the fact much of it was harvested from virgin forests. You may have to put some serious time into finding reclaimed lumber as its use is very popular in certain parts of the country. The bonus is you will probably spend less money in the end using reclaimed wood. Being green doesn’t stop with using recycled wood. Recycled plastics and composites also are abundantly available. Many times these are long lasting products that don’t need to be replaced as often thereby saving you money.

Tip 4

Unless you haven’t looked at an appliance in 20 years you are familiar with Energy Star appliances. They are money saving appliances deemed to be energy efficient by the E.P.A (Environmental Protection Agency). They are easily identified by those familiar blue energy star labels. Choosing to use Energy Star appliances for heating, cooling, refrigeration, cooking and lighting will help to ease the burden on energy resources. You might even consider a tank-less water heater which uses less energy as you don’t have to keep a large tank of water hot for use. Remember that these green tips are not only useful in building new homes but also are things to keep in mind when remodeling any room in your house. The benefits are saving valuable natural resources and keeping more money in your pocket. Sounds like a win-win situation.

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