Fact: A 12-watt LED light bulb is as bright as a 60 watt incandescent but lasts 25 times longer and uses 80% less energy.
Getting started: LEDs are coming down in price and gaining in popularity but they don't contain the mercury found in compact fluorescents. You can find them online at Lowes and other select retailers.
Fact: Solar tubes illuminate your home by reflecting, refracting, and concentrating natural light, cutting down on electricity costs for artificial lighting.
Getting started: Solar tubes take skylights to a different level. These efficient natural lighting systems are made by several manufacturers. Look for brand names like sun tunnel and solatube.
Fact: Energy star appliances can be 10% -30% more energy efficient than conventional appliances.
Getting started: The energy star label makes it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort. Find energy star products here.
Fact: A gas-fired tankless water heater is 30% more efficient than a traditional gas-fired water heater with a tank.
Getting started: By heating water only when it's needed and eliminating energy lost during standby operation, gas tankless water heaters cut water heating expenses while providing a continuous supply of hot water. Learn more here.
Fact: Low-flow toilets, faucets, and fixtures can reduce water usage by 20-30%.
Getting started: Low-flow fixtures not only conserve water, but also the energy required to pump, treat, and heat the water. The EPA's WaterSense program labels plumbing products that meet water conservation standards.
Fact: The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-38 (or about 12-15 inches, depending on the insulation type). In the coldest climates, insulating up to R-49 is recommended.
Getting started: If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation, but insulation is just part of making your home more efficient. Sealing air leaks is important, too, but you don't want your house to be sealed too tightly. Hire a home energy rater, like Energy Smart Home Improvement who can analyze your home with diagnostic tools, make strategic recommendations, and perform the improvements themselves or refer you to someone who can. The A Energy Store can arrange such services.
Fact: Reflective window film can result in significant savings in the cost of cooling your house in the summer and warming it in the winter.
Getting started: In addition to saving energy, window films can enhance privacy, reduce glare, and limit harmful UV radiation. They are inexpensive and easy to install. Window films can be purchased at Lowes, Home Depot, and other retailers.
Fact: Solar thermal systems are a pollution-free source of hot water.
Getting started: Solar thermal systems using evacuated tube collectors are the most efficient. These collectors can even work well in overcast conditions and operate in temperatures as low as -40°F. Learn more here or schedule a consultation with a reputable solar installer like EECO.
Fact: The right clothing choices can save energy and resources.
Getting started: If buying synthetic fleece, made from petroleum derived plastics, look for recycled content. Natural substitutes are wool and alpaca. When buying cotton, ask for organic cotton. Many retailers offer or specialize in clothing that has been pre-owned, a veritable form of recycling.
Fact: Programmable thermostats can save homeowners close to 10% on their annual home heating expenditures.
Getting started: There are many types of programmable thermostats on the market and different types of heating systems, talk to your retailer or HVAC contractor to select the model that's right for you. Learn more here or visit your local hardware or energy-related retailer.
Fact: Zero and low VOC carpets and paints give of fewer unhealthy volatile organic chemicals and are easier on the environment.
Getting started: Ask for low VOC product lines when shopping for paints, carpets, and other flooring and furnishings. Eartheasy.com offers a helpful list of natural, zero VOC, and low VOC of paint products for your consideration.
Fact: Local produce generally has a lower carbon footprint since it comes from nearby farms.
Getting started: Buying local produce supports local farmers and nourishes a healthy connection to the land. Locate local produce through the Buy Fresh, Buy Local web site. Learn more about organic practices and other ways to support local farms through the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
Back to My GreenHouse page.