*This is a guest post
Change starts at home. And if you’re wondering how to go green, perhaps it’s time to switch to renewable energy?
What springs to mind when you think of a self-sufficient home? For many, it’s a cabin in the woods with its own garden, hunting equipment and specially designed water gathering feature. Although idyllic, it’s not exactly achievable for many of us.
When thinking about how to go green in your home, it doesn’t mean you have to pack up your family and move to the wilderness. There are several easy and cost-effective ways to make the change today.
Renewable energy is achievable for all of us. Wondering how to go green? Here are some easy methods:
Why Switch to Renewable Energy?
The first and most obvious reason in favour of going green is the undeniable benefits to the environment. We know that we’re overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and emissions. These gases trap heat and lead to a host of negative side effects on the environment. But did you know that in the US alone, 29% of global warming emissions stem from the electricity sector and the use of fossil fuels? By contrast, renewable energy produces no emissions. It’s safer, cleaner and better for the world we live in.
Not only that, but switching to renewable energy can save us money on our bills too. Nobody looks forward to receiving bills — always too high and coming around too soon — and we can end up despairing at extortionate rates and regular payments. Self-sustaining energy cuts a lot of these expenses, allowing you to save the planet and your pennies at the same time.
How to Go Green
Here are our top ways of making your home more energy efficient and self-sustaining.
Rooftop solar panels
Rooftop solar panels are often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of renewable energy. And the science behind it is simple. Rooftop solar panels are fitted onto your roof and, when the sun shines (even on overcast days), the solar cells generate electricity that powers your home. Surplus energy is looped back into the main grid and, over time, you accrue a backlog of energy, so you’re never caught short.
Unlike fossil fuel, the sun’s energy is free and shows no signs of running out (for another four or five billions years, at least). So, although the solar panels themselves come at an initial cost, it’s not difficult to see how quickly you’ll start to make savings. To make sure your solar panels are installed correctly, it’s vital to speak to a specialist heating engineer. They’ll be able to advise you, answer your questions and manage installation and maintenance.
Heat pumps are a cost-effective way of decreasing your carbon footprint. They function as an energy-efficient alternative to heating systems and air conditioners, and work by moving air from the outside to the inside and vice versa, allowing heat pumps to both warm and cool your home. Sweltering in the summer months and curling up by the fire under five layers can become a thing of the past, as heat pumps can keep you comfortable no matter the season.
Not only are they a great alternative to electric heating and cooling systems, but you can also lower the amount of energy you use by as much as 40%, which amounts to some serious savings. As with solar panels, heat pumps require installation, so always be sure to consult a professional.
Do you want to reduce your water utility bills by 70% and help to protect the environment? Rainwater harvesting is exactly what you need. Rainwater harvesting re-uses natural water resources to supply water to your home. Easy to implement and simple to sustain, harvesting rainwater could reduce your domestic water usage by up to 50%. All you need is a storage tank and a filtration system.
Most commonly, harvested rainwater is used for toilet flushing. It may not sound glamorous, but the average person flushes roughly 24 gallons down the toilet every day — and that adds up substantially over time. To stop flushing money down the toilet, you simply need to link up the rain harvesting system to the toilet cistern.
Energy efficient products
Reducing your carbon footprint while saving pennies doesn’t require a big commitment and overhaul in the way you live. Reducing your electricity use is a great first step towards switching to renewable energy — and there are plenty of ways to do it. Consider replacing your standard light bulbs with LED ones, which are not only better for the environment, but also up to 25 times more efficient, saving you money on your electricity bills. Air filters, smart thermostats and other energy-saving equipment are well worth the investment too.