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Carbon zero does not exist. However, some homeowners try to make small changes towards sustainability ranging from energy-efficient bulbs to cooling systems. A lot of pioneering housing developers, environmentalists, and architects are working towards creating more advanced carbon zero projects around the world. But to the normal person, there are still many steps you can take to ensure your carbon footprint is minimized and your home is a little bit more environmentally friendly.
Greening Your Home
In today's world, most people are looking for ways to go green. Ace Hardware, with the help of Ace's "Helpful Hardware Man", Lou Manfredini, has developed the following tips to help people make home improvement choices that not only benefit their home, but also the environment.
Making small, inexpensive changes, like the ones outlined below, can help save money and truly have an impact on the environment.
Install a Smart Meter
Smart meters are programmed so that they turn on at a certain time of the day. For example, starting to heat up just before you get home and being shut off during the hours when you are not in your house. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and decrease energy bills.
Install Solar Panels
A considerable amount of heat and electricity used in buildings can be covered by solar energy via the use of solar thermal collectors. Solar panels are a long-term investment that provides clean energy. The number of solar panels being installed in houses is growing each year with people realizing the value of solar energy and the potential of solar panels to create more eco-friendly homes.
One of the ways to make your home eco-friendlier and ensure that you use as little energy as possible is through insulating your house. Insulation helps hold the heat inside meaning that you will spend less on energy to heat up your house. Insulation can be implemented on the walls and on the roof. Another possibility worth considering is double-glazing the windows of your house.
The Less, the Better
When thinking about sustainability we often relate this to energy consumption. But in order to be eco-friendly, you also need to consider saving water. You can do that by taking the time to fix any leaks you have in your home. Simple changes like not running the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving can save tons of water. A good idea is installing a low-flow shower-head which can save up to 160,000 liters of water in a family of four.
Change a Light
Replace your traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). CFLs use 75% less electricity than traditional bulbs and can last up to six years. If you change the six most-used light bulbs in your home to CFLs, you can save up to $60 a year in electricity costs.
Collect table scraps and food waste to create a composting area in your yard. Compost piles lessen the amount of trash that enters landfills and you can use the compost as your own super fertilizer. Not having to buy chemical fertilizers will help you save money, and keep those chemicals from ending up in our waterways.
Green your Trash
Use biodegradable trash bags for waste. Regular plastic bags can take 100 years to decompose while "bio-bags" start to breakdown in landfills in just 30-60 days. When doing heavy-duty home projects make sure you recycle any materials that you can.
Seek out local produce items and food. Shopping locally means fewer products need to be shipped long distances to reach store shelves. This means less fuel is used and fewer emissions are released. The produce tastes better, too!
Make Earth Friendly Purchases
With each purchase you make, even the everyday ones, try to think of the impact it will have on the globe. Many manufacturers now offer "green" products made from less harmful and natural ingredients. When shopping at Ace Hardware stores nationwide, look for our "Helpful Earth Choices" to guide you in the right direction.
Plant More of Everything
Plant trees, flowers, bushes, and even your own fruits and vegetables. These plants will beautify your home and add value to the earth by absorbing carbon dioxide.
Color Your Walls "Green"
Use low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints for interior painting to reduce the impact on both indoor and outdoor air quality.
Be an Energy Star
When it's time to buy new appliances, look for Energy Star rated units, which are the most efficient on the market.
Be an Efficient Energy Consumer
Service your heating and air conditioning system each year to ensure it is running at peak efficiency and safety. And consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature throughout the day, which can net you up to a 20% energy savings on the heating and cooling of your home.
This article was updated on 24th February, 2020.