Earth-friendly moves for your homeBy Lou Manfredini
True, there is always a lot of hype around Earth Day, and we are reminded of how as a society we are not the best stewards for Mother Earth. But we are getting better, and more important, we are getting more comfortable with the idea of innovation that will make us more green and ultimately save some green, too. Here are some thoughts and things to consider for your home, whether you are building a new one or remodeling the one you have.
There is now a residential wind turbine that is 6 feet in diameter and can supply 20 percent of the energy your home needs and installed it costs less than $10,000. Yes it will look like you put a pinwheel on your house, but trust me: This is going to be the next hot green item coming to a neighborhood near you.
Innovations in solar roofing tiles that convert more energy from the sun and double as your actual shingle are already available. But the cost keeps coming down and aesthetically it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference from a typical roofing material. The cost to install a system like this on average, about $25,000, but the tax credits on both wind and solar can be up to 50 percent depending on where you live.
On-demand water heaters:
Once brushed off by tank water-heater makers as unproven technology for the U.S. (now all of them have one), the acceptance of these products is growing every single day. With unlimited hot water, zero energy wasted for stand-by storage, and tax credits to boot. This is your next heater and potentially your last one, as well.
CFLs, sure — but LED is where it is going:
Just as we got comfortable with CFLs and the makers produced similar looking bulbs to standard incandescent, the LED bulbs are poised to take over lighting our homes. They are not there yet — they’re mostly directional, limited products that dim, and the light color, though better, is not perfect. They will be the dominant light source in the next ten years.
With so many options and manufacturers all you need to do is some research and commit to doing something green for your home. It’s all up to you.