Many homeowners are looking for new ways to help the environment, while saving money on utilities at the same time. Grenadier Homes, an Energy Star®-rated and Green Built™ Texas-certified home-builder, offers these tips to help people improve energy efficiency inside and out:
Replace faucets and showerheads with low-flow options and toilets with low-flush versions. Since 1995, the law requires all toilets installed be low-flush, and flushing technology has continued to improve in recent years. The Environmental Protection Agency states flushing accounts for nearly 40 percent of all indoor water usage; so replacing older toilets, especially those made before 1995, should significantly reduce water usage.
Upgrade to a more efficient HVAC system. A minimum 13-seer is good, but the higher the number, the better the efficiency. Federal tax credits may apply through the end of 2013. For information on qualifying items, visit www.energystar.gov.
Make sure the home has enough insulation. Some areas of the country have free insulation incentive programs. In Texas, the electric provider Oncor is offering one such program to encourage energy efficiency improvements. If they qualify, owners of electric-powered homes can receive free attic insulation, as well as weather stripping and sealant, which help ensure hot and cold air is not leaking through windows and doors. For information on the program, visit www.takealoadofftexas.com.
According to Oncor, heating and cooling accounts for 50 to 70 percent of energy usage in an average American home. Having a high quality HVAC system, good insulation and no air leaks will make a major difference in energy efficiency.
Use native plants to landscape. As the name implies, native plants grow naturally in an area rather than being imported from another part of the country. In general, native plants are better adapted to weather and soil conditions. In hot climates like Texas, this generally means they are draught-tolerant and require less water.
Install a moisture-sensing water sprinkler – one that doesn’t water the lawn when the ground is wet or while it is raining. It should also have a sensor to recognize freezing temperatures. Some communities require these sensors by local ordinance – not only in new construction, but owners of existing properties are expected to comply after a period of time. The sprinkler should be installed by a licensed professional. Go a step further and ask if rain water can be recycled.
Both inside and out
Replace incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs in the house and in landscaping features with LED, or light-emitting diode, lights. LEDs last longer, radiate less heat and emit light in a specific direction.
“Not all LEDs are the same, however,” cautions John Egnatis, CEO and co-founder of Grenadier Homes. “Some aren’t as stable or efficient as others. Look for Energy Star qualified LED light bulbs and fixtures. To qualify, lighting products must adhere to strict efficiency and quality standards set up by the EPA.”
All Grenadier homes are Green Built™ Texas-certified and Energy Star®-rated to ensure the highest levels of efficiency. To learn more about Grenadier Green, visit www.grenadierhomes.com/experience-grenadier/grenadier-green.
“Grenadier Homes likes to stay ahead of regulations,” says Anthony Natale, president and co-founder of Grenadier Homes. “That way we’ll always be in compliance; but, more importantly, we always want to be as ‘green’ as possible. We care about the environment, and we care about what we’re leaving behind for our children and our children’s children.”