Choose Green Home Remodeling and Let the Sun’s Energy Power Your Home

When considering a green home remodeling project, think of the sun. Now is a perfect time to consider switching to a renewable energy source such as solar power. Many homeowners don’t consider solar because they think it too expensive, unreliable, or complicated. However, solar panels have improved greatly in the last 20 years. They are smaller, more efficient and reliable, less expensive, and easier to obtain.

Solar energy creates no pollution and it’s free. While solar panels themselves are not free, they’re a very effective long-term investment. A variety of local, federal and state tax credits and incentives can cut the expense by as much as 50 percent. If you generate more power than your home uses, you can try selling the extra power to your local utility. You can also rent your solar panels, reducing your initial cost, and letting you pay for the rental from energy savings.

Many homeowners erroneously believe that solar power will provide reduced power at certain times or will require expensive batteries. Solar systems can create power on cloudy days, although they generate more on sunny days. Because most solar panels are tied to the electrical grid, a process called net metering allows you to build up credit during the day – when your system is generating more power than you need – and draw on that credit at night. If your home is too isolated for a grid connection, you may want to consider a generator or a battery back up.

Before you sign on for solar there are a couple of considerations. First, check your utility bills; if they are already low for your area, solar panels might not be a good investment. Next, see how much sun hits your roof every day. If your roof is shaded for much of the day, you might not be a good candidate or you may need to trim some trees. Finally, see if your roof has a southern exposure. Other exposures work, but they may be somewhat less efficient or more expensive.

Good installers can evaluate your home’s potential for solar power and make estimates for costs. As with any green home improvement project, it pays to get bids from a number of contractors. Choose a company that is experienced and licensed.

Energy Efficiency Leads the Way in Home Improvement Projects

For years, Energy Efficiency has been a topic buried under all the ‘green’ talk surrounding the use of solar power at home and alternative energy sources.

Today, energy efficient homes are taking center stage on a massive scale. Home improvement projects now focus on aspects of the home such as conducting energy audits and air sealing your home’s attic, walls, and basement. A home’s energy efficiency is priority number one before any homeowners should even consider using solar power at home. Think about it, if you’re home is an energy hog, and not using energy efficiently, it will take a whole lot more solar energy to power your home, driving up the price of installing such a solar power system.

So, first things first, energy efficient home improvements need to be understood at the outset of any ‘green’ home improvement project.

One of the misconceptions of going green is, If you add green features to your home, costs would also rise. Fortunately, the opposite is true. By redesigning processes — reducing mistakes, doing things right the first time — home owners can improve their home’s energy efficiency and cut their home energy costs.

Because so many people now need to save the green in their wallets, going green at home through energy efficient home improvements is the logical way to go.

So, just how much money can be saved in a household by improving home energy efficiency?

The average American home has about 40-50 light bulbs, excluding closet lights, and most homes are filled with incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs or CFLs are the easiest energy efficient home improvement you can make to start. Four CFL bulbs use the energy of one incandescent bulb, by replacing all of them, you could save $350 a year on your electric bill!

Water Efficiency

What about water efficiency? Bathrooms, which can easily be the most wasteful rooms in the house, have a great opportunity to be a very efficient room as well. Low flow toilets instead of the standard, 3.5-gallon toilets, which, for a family of five, can cut a water bill by $165 a year. Low flow sink faucets in both bathrooms can also reduce the water bill by another $200 a year. There are also adjustable shower heads that control the flow of water so it isn’t on full spray for the entire time in the shower. These attachable heads can slow down water flow by 80 percent when full power isn’t needed, such as when soaping up or shaving. By adjusting the water flow, a family of five can save up to $350 annually on their water bill and as much as $350 on their heating bill given the reduced use of hot water.

Heating and Cooling

Nothing in the home consumes more energy than the heating and cooling system. Keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer is a constant battle to separate the inside elements from the outside. The best way to improve home energy efficiency when it comes to heating and cooling is through air sealing your home. Also known as weatherizing, this is a crucial element to any energy efficient home. Trouble areas include the roof where hot air can escape in the winter and also attract heat during the summer. Home improvements such as “Cool Roofs” are a great way to reduce summer time heat. The attic is a very important element to insulate the house. If your insulation is less than six inches thick, it’s time to make some improvements.

Understanding home energy efficiency doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to make sense.

Green Home Improvement Tips

These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.

Create A More Sophisticated Bathroom By Installing Shower Screens

Practically every household that wants a classier, more sophisticated bathroom directs efforts towards the shower area. From spotless showerheads to intricately designed tiles, homeowners take their time to make sure they use carefully chosen elements to make bathing an even more satisfying experience. Apart from these features, shower enclosures have grown in popularity as well and have become essential features in creating a really nice bathroom that also doubles as protection for other bathroom features from damaging splashes of water.

To create a very modern bathroom, home renovators and designers endorse frameless shower screens. Adelaide homeowners also add that apart from the completely modern appearance, these frameless shower screens are the best choice for small bathrooms because they do not create partitions that take up too much space or make the space look too cramped. Another cool advantage to these screens is they are very easy to clean; you can keep them attractive and spotless just by regularly cleaning them with typical glass cleaning agents.

Folding shower screens, on the other hand, are also great for small bathrooms as they do not take up too much space for the panels can just be pushed to one side. They’re just as easy to install and clean, but to keep them working well for a long time, be sure to oil the hinges every now and then so they always slide easily.

Aesthetically, perhaps the best contribution of glass shower screens is that if there’s nice tiling throughout the bathroom, there’s nothing that hides the beauty of this special feature. Also, because glass lets light in, there’s that consistency in the overall appearance of the space.

If you’re worried about glass being prone to breakage, most makers of shower screens reinforce its strength with other materials and include a special mechanism so they close on their own. This makes the likelihood of your glass shower screen breaking if you’re not particularly careful very low.

Shower enclosures still come in so many other different styles and sizes and there are even some people who enhance their beauty by etching or stencilling nice images on their glass elements. Worth mentioning as well is how easy it is to have them installed nowadays. In a matter of hours, you can place an order for your choice of shower screen and have it completely installed in your bathroom looking really nice and ready to be used for your next shower. Even better, you can save money and time if you seek the services of a company that supplies the product and employs trained people to install shower screens because you get everything you need from one place.