5 products every ‘green’ home needs
With today's rising water, electricity and fuel costs, it's sometimes not enough to buy one energy-efficient appliance and expect significant savings on your bill. Maybe you invested in a front-loading washer and dryer a year ago only to see your supposedly "green" home leak energy into the utility companies' pockets.
If you're growing more concerned about rising energy costs, you may need to double down on the number of energy-efficient appliances you have in your home. Some sticker shock when first considering transforming your house into a truly green space is normal, but remember that your savings over time are likely to be much higher than the money you need to start the process. Check out these five things every green home needs:
1. Tankless water heaters
In 1914, not a single home had a TV or a dishwasher – and many lacked even indoor plumbing. Today, however, you would be hard-pressed to find a house without at least two of these things. So why would you put up with a hot water heater than shares the same technology as the ones your grandparents used?
Writing for Cleveland.com, home repair specialist Becky Stager explained that 20 percent of the average home's energy expenses in a given year are from traditional heaters that continually heat a source of water. Moreover, 60 percent of the energy used by these appliances is leaked to the outside.
Gas or electric tankless water heaters avoid wasting heat by running only when you need them. Install one to provide water to a single shower or faucet that sees the most use for a continuous supply of hot water whenever you need it.
2. Radiant floor heating
Once thought of as only a luxury item, high heating costs have brought radiant floor heating solutions back into the public consciousness. Remodelista explained that heating from the bottom of a room lets the higher temperatures rise, which creates a more even temperature feel in a room and means you can lower the thermostat without sacrificing on comfort. Most modern radiant floor heating systems force hot water through a series of tubes, so you can hook it up to a tankless water heater for even more savings.
Also, by heating a floor made out of certain materials that store and transfer heat well, such as stone, concrete and ceramic tile, your home can feed off that energy without running the under-floor heating element for a second.
3. Automatic thermostat
If you are not ready to rip up your floorboards and commit to a radiant floor heating system, an automatic thermostat that controls your home's furnace might help you save a pretty penny come the end of the month. TopTech News explained that products like the Nest Learning Thermostat does everything from lower lights, adjust ambient temperatures and close shades to keep your home as energy-efficient as possible.
For less than $100, you can have your own personal electronic butler look after your home to lower utility bills even with old, wasteful appliances.
4. Solar panels
This might be better suited for more experienced do-it-yourselfers, but a few solar panels installed in the right places can be the financial lifesaver your home and wallet have been waiting for. If your home or backyard receive enough sunlight throughout the day, CleanTechnica explained that the cost of solar panels varied based on power output, and the current average rests at $4.72 per watt.
With a few panels on your roof, you could see savings up to $40,000 over a 20-year period.
While you can throw all the money you want a high-tech solutions, the Department of Energy noted that insulating your home with the right materials can do more for your energy bill than anything else. Heating your house is one thing, but keeping that energy trapped within the walls is something else entirely.