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How to Green Your Own Home

by in Mar 2013
How to Green Your Own Home
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Get an Energy Audit
“This is the very first step. It doesn’t cost that much in the grand scheme of things–some states offer them for free–and it will pay back in four or five years. Think about a crack under your door that’s two millimeters wide and a meter long. If you calculate the area, it’s a gaping hole, but it doesn’t seem like much. There are all kinds of features like that that an expert can assess. Just making your house tighter, replacing some of the glazing with double glaze, looking at the heating system, making sure it’s efficiently configured–that’s the low-hanging fruit.”

–Steve Mulkey, Unity College President

Add Insulation
“Insulation is the obvious solution to a very common problem. We grab a good coat when we go outside on a cold day, yet most of the buildings we inhabit are poorly dressed for the weather they encounter. Finding ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is a mighty problem. Ocean freighters and airplanes burn fantastic quantities of fuel to perform their tasks, as do steel mills and chemical plants. Buildings, on the other hand, are easy. Nearly half of their energy demands come from heating and cooling, and most of that usage could be cut dramatically–even eliminated–by making the building envelope tight and adding lots of insulation.”
–Tedd Benson, Bensonwood Homes

Go Solar
“Solar electric is cheaper than it has ever been. Since 2008, the price of systems has dropped by 50 percent, from $10 per watt to $5 per watt in 2011. Typically, we install systems in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. It’s possible to get up to 50 percent of that back, between state incentives and federal tax credits. As with anything, there are caveats, of course … but it often makes more sense to do a full system rather than individual panels, because you’ll get more back in terms of rebates and return on your investment.”
–Pablo Fleischmann & Valerie Piedmont, Green Energy Options,

Updated Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
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