Being Green at Home

posted on 10 Sep, 2014 | Residential

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Being Green at Home – Tips from Green Building Hawaii

If you are inspired by the environmentally friendly efforts of the Hyatt Regency Maui, here are some ways to implement similar practices at home. Below is a list of 10 things that you can do to be greener at home, along with some great resources to help you get started and become more informed. It can take some time to implement all of these practices, so it is recommended to start with the ones that most easily fit your lifestyle, and go from there.

1. Change your light bulbs- CFL bulbs use about 25% of the energy that incandescent bulbs use, and LED’s use about 10%. Both also last much longer than comparable incandescent lamps. For more information about these lighting technologies and how you can save money and energy, visit the following website: http://energy.gov/public-services/homes/saving-electricity/lighting

2. Recycle- Divert waste from the landfill by capturing recyclable items. Most municipalities have recycling programs available for batteries, paper, glass, plastic, and cardboard. Also, look for local shops that will recycle your electronics. Find out more here.

3. Carpool, bike or walk whenever possible. Reduce carbon emissions by limiting single occupant vehicle trips as much as possible. Also, take a look at this greenhouse gas emissions calculator, and see how much carbon equivalent you can save by avoiding car trips.

4. Compost- Start collecting your food waste and composting it. The process is not complicated, and the finished product can be used in your own garden, or donated to gardens in your community. Click here to find out more benefits, and what it takes to get started.

5. Buy Local and/or Sustainable Products- Reducing the distance traveled by the goods you purchase means reducing carbon emissions from trucks, boats and planes used in transportation of these goods. An easy way to get started is to visit your local farmers market to support workers in your community, eat healthy, and have fun. If buying local is not feasible, try to look for products with recycled content and/or third-party green certifications. For paper and wood products, look for the FSC label. In any case, do some research to make sure the products you are buying are in fact green, as opposed to “green washed.” To find out more about the difference between those two, read this article.

6. Reduce the use of Air Conditioning and Heating- In the summer, use fans instead of A/C. In the winter, use extra clothing instead of a heater. Programmable thermostats are not expensive, and can save you a significant amount on your heating and air conditioning bills.

7. Reduce Shower Time and Retrofit with high-efficiency Showerheads- Be conscious of how long you spend in the shower. The average person spends about 8 minutes in the shower. By keeping showers to 5 minutes, you can save about 9 gallons of water each time you shower. Learn more about water conservation at home here: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/start_saving.html – tabs-1

8. Replace outdated electronic appliances with ENERGYSTAR efficient appliances- Refrigerators, washers/dryers, and dishwashers, water heaters, electronics and more can all be energy efficient. The new ones can use significantly less energy than your old ones. Find out more here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_save_energy_at_home

9. Install a Solar Photovoltaic System on your Home- Solar energy is becoming more affordable, especially with state and federal incentives. To check your area’s potential for PV, use this website: http://pvwatts.nrel.gov . Also, be sure to read this blog about the importance of an Energy Audit, prior to purchasing solar.

10. Take the ultimate step and live in a LEED Certified home or a green home that is certified by an independent third party. Have a look at some of the following options:
LEED For Homes, ENERGYSTAR Residential Certification, Earth Advantage, and National Association of Home Builders Green Certification

Here are some more great websites for you to use as resources for your sustainability efforts at home:

http://greenhomeadvisor.org

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/green-homes

http://www.resnet.us

More about Green Building Hawaii

Green Building Hawaii provides comprehensive consulting and training solutions for the built environment in Hawaii and abroad.  Services range from energy efficiency and renewable energy analysis to comprehensive LEED consulting services for new and existing facilities.  Consulting expertise is then channeled into training offerings so that classes contain the most up to date information and examples from real projects.  For more information, contact Green Building Hawaii at Info@GreenBuildingHawaii.com or visit www.GreenBuildingHawaii.com

 

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