Buildings and homes in the U.S. account for 39 percent of our energy consumption and 60 percent of our total electricity usage. In the mid-‘90s the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) began to develop a set of ratings dubbed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) that sets the standard for determining an ‘eco-friendly ’or ‘green’ home. Over the last decade, more people have become eco-conscious and adapted to the LEED standards. One study by the U.S. Green Building Council estimates that there are about 150,000 LEED-certified eco-friendly houses across the globe.
If you want to join in and reduce the waste produced in your household, you don’t have to start from scratch. Here are a few changes you can make that, over time, will help eliminate unnecessary waste in your household and transform your home into a much more eco-friendly living space.
Fluorescent of LED Lighting
If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, it’s time to switch over to the vastly more efficient compact florescent or LED lighting. Fluorescent and LED lights use 25 to 80 percent less electricity and can last up to 25 times longer than the average incandescent bulb. With efficiency like this, there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t want to make the switch.
By changing out your roofing to something like Lifetime shingles from Champion Home Exteriors, you can receive great protection for your home while supporting a company that is committed to reducing the use of precious natural resources. Great quality materials also means less waste and maintenance down the road, which saves both time and energy in the future.
Low Flow Toilet
From the time toilets were invented by Joseph Adamson in the mid-19th century, all the way to the mid-’90s, toilets generally sent about seven gallons of water down the pipes with every flush. With the introduction of water conservation laws in the 1990s, the law mandated that only 1.6 gallons of water per flush should be used, saving 5.4 gallons every time. This law ushered in the dawn of the low flow toilet, which has seen many design adjustments over the last couple decades, making use of pressurized air so the flush doesn’t depend on gravity alone.
It’s estimated that switching to water-saving fixtures such as low flow toilets can save you up to $100 in utility costs, not to mention all the water that won’t go to waste.
Energy Efficient Windows
In 1992 the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy devised the Energy Star rating, which is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products. Windows are one of the most popular products that qualify for an official Energy Star rating, and swapping out old inefficient windows is one of the easiest ways you can upgrade your home to be more energy efficient.
Depending on where you live, there are different energy efficient windows that will best suit your needs. Some windows can let heat in and act as an insulator to keep the warmth inside the house, while others can block out sunlight and keep the interior cooler. It’s said that windows are the biggest source of heating and cooling energy loss in our homes, so by installing the proper energy efficient windows you can cut down on energy usage which helps your wallet as well as the environment.