Spring is a good time to look at how “green” your home is. Below are 5 easy tips to “green” your home. I’ve learned so much by representing 4114 New Hampshire Ave NW (www.petworthgreenbuilding.com) and I’m thrilled to share.
1. Reduce energy – insulate your attic! If you do nothing else, please be sure you have a significant amount of insulation in your attic. More heat (and cool in the summer) is lost through the attic than anywhere else in the house. Most homes I see in DC have no insulation in the attic whatsoever. You can either use a spray foam product like was used at 4114 New Hampshire, or even the traditional batting insulation. If you do it yourself it will only cost a couple hundred dollars and save you many hundreds over the course of a couple years.
2. Reduce storm water runoff and water consumption – install a rain barrel! For only a couple hundred dollars you can install a rain barrel at the end of your downspout. Rain barrels can store enough water to get you through some of our dry spells this summer. Not only will this pull your water bill down, but it will also reduce the amount of storm water runoff that flows into our drainage system and eventually into our rivers – carrying with it pollutants from the city.
3. Reduce water usage – install lower flow faucets. For less than about $500 you can install lower flow faucets in your bathrooms and kitchens. The faucets add air to the water stream which allows for sufficient pressure – but less water. You won’t even notice the difference!
4. Improve your air quality – install high quality air filters. Buy high quality pleated air filter and change it often. What is more important than the air you breathe? For only a few dollars more you can significantly upgrade your air filter but be sure to change it often. Dirty air filters significantly increase the work your system must perform which raises your bills.
5. Save your money (and water) – plant flowers and bushes that make sense in DC. The DC summers can be very hot and frequently dry. Planting inpatients on your roof deck for example will require daily watering and may not make sense. The best decision I made was to plant cactus on my roof deck which flower beautifully throughout the summer and I don’t have to worry about watering daily! Choose wisely based on the soil quality and exposure to the sun.