Is your home as green as it could be? Investing time and money in a greener home is an ongoing process that has many short- and long-term benefits. When you choose green products, you save on energy bills, conserve the water we all need as a resource, and encourage companies to keep innovating in green directions. If you’re considering to add a few more green elements to your Shreveport, Louisiana, home, we’ve got some ideas for you!
Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures
Plenty of low-flow plumbing fixtures are available, and they’re relatively inexpensive to install compared with other green household products. Though newer constructions use low-flow fixtures automatically, older homes may still come equipped with water-wasting shower heads and toilets.
A low-flow shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute or less, compared to the 3 or 4 gallons per minute (gpm) that used to be standard. In Louisiana’s humid climate, go with a laminar-flow shower head rather than an aerating one.
The average gpm rate for low-flow toilets is 1.6, compared with the 3.5 gpm rate that toilets used to have. If you get a pressure-assisted, low-flow toilet rather than one that simply uses gravity, you can save an additional 45 percent of water. No matter what low-flow products you choose, a family of four can save as much as 20,000 gallons of water a year by replacing old fixtures with low-flow options.
Energy Star HVAC Equipment
Energy Star is an initiative by the EPA to produce more energy-efficient home appliances, including HVAC equipment. Energy Star products are designed with energy consumption in mind. When you buy an HVAC system with the Energy Star label, you know you’re getting something that will save you energy and reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy Star products are tested by third parties, so companies can’t simply claim something is energy efficient when it really isn’t. Replacing an HVAC system that’s more than 10 years old with an Energy Star model will save you significantly on your energy bills.
Installing solar panels doesn’t offer as much energy efficiency up north, where cloudier days diminish solar panel sunlight harvesting potential. However, Louisiana is in a southern location that gets lots of sun, which means solar panels are a viable way to make your home greener.
If you go with a grid-tied system, your solar panels will provide you with most of your energy and greatly lower your electricity bills. Some people choose to store their extra energy in a battery or to employ a backup generator if the grid power goes out. Grid-tied solar panel systems are more common, and they can save you as much as $600 a year. They aren’t cheap to install, however, even with available tax credits. Installing solar panels is more about using green innovation to reduce fossil fuel dependence and your carbon footprint than achieving immediate savings.
Rainwater Harvesting System
A rainwater harvesting system is a DIY project that the handiest of homeowners might want to try implementing. Rainwater harvesting systems save rainwater for both potable and non-potable purposes. You might use your harvested rainwater as water for washing clothes and dishes, watering your plants, or bathing.
Water picks up most of its pollution when it filters through the ground, which means when you collect rainwater, it lacks the hardness of the water that comes through your pipes. When you harvest rainwater and use it in your daily life, you reduce the treatment, pumping, and distribution costs associated with providing all of Shreveport with water. To collect potable water, the harvesting system will need to be more complex, with filtration systems and roof washers. However, even collecting water from your gutters and using it to water your plants will help the environment.
At Pioneer Comfort Systems, we know how important energy efficiency is, both because you care about reducing your carbon footprint and because you want to save money. If you have any questions about HVAC efficiency, better HVAC products, or maintenance plans that help save money by making your system more efficient, don’t hesitate to call us at 318-795-8000.
Image provided by Shutterstock