Green Homes and Living Green

Green Homes for sales

A green home is a type of house designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, while also focusing on the efficient use of energy, water, and building materials. A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the occupants.

Green home can be built by design. Or a home can make green later. It would be like green makeover. It can happen all at once, or it can be a gradual process. 

Living green isn’t only the right thing to do...it’s also the smart thing to do.

Landscaping

California is a wonderful place to live. One of the little things that make this part of the world so nice is the landscaping around people’s homes. Landscaping is a powerful method to create a green energy home.

It’s a well-known fact that energy conservation and efficiency efforts are good for the future of our planet. In addition to being good for our planet, did you know these same efforts can be good for our pocketbooks? Taking steps to minimize energy consumption can often help lower heating, cooling, water and utility bills.

Green Home for sale

 

General landscaping tips

 Plant trees, shrubbery, plants and flowers that are native to your area. Plants from other locales will likely require more water, fertilizer and care, thus requiring more energy and resources, as well as time.

Buy drought-resistant plants that need less water.

Learn how much water your trees, shrubbery and plants truly need – don’t just guess. You may be over watering them without realizing it.

Water in the early morning when evaporation rates are low and to give your plants moisture as heat rises.

Mulch plants to protect the roots, minimize evaporation and to insulate them.

Leave grass clippings on the lawn as natural fertilizer.

Start a compost pile with yard trimmings and food scraps.

Shading landscaping tips

Planting trees helps reduce your carbon footprint!

Trees planted near your home can help minimize solar heat coming in through windows and the roof, reducing air conditioning costs in warm months. In fact, shading from trees can reduce air temperatures around a home by as much as 9º F.

Deciduous trees provide shade in summer but let heat from the sun in during winter months when the trees drop their leaves. Evergreen trees provide shade year round.

Trees, shrubs and ground cover also shade the ground and pavement surrounding the home, reducing heat radiation into the structure.

Windbreaks landscaping tips

Windbreaks are landscaping elements that provide wind protection for the home, reducing wind chill and lowering heating costs.

The benefits of windbreaks increase as trees and shrubs grow.

Windbreaks are usually planted on the north and northwest sides of the home.

The best windbreaks use dense plantings, such as evergreen trees and shrubs.

For best results, place plantings close together, keeping in mind the mature plant size.

Windbreak plantings are often combined with a wall or fence for maximum effectiveness.

Living green isn’t only the right thing to do...it’s also the smart thing to do.

Lighting

Brightly lit homes show off the houses design features. Learning to use light wisely creates great effects and saves energy. Lighting is an effectual approach to produce green energy efficient homes.

Lighting makes up almost 15% of average Sacramento California home’s electrical use, so paying attention to your home’s lighting design can be advantageous to your bottom line. Incorporating new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use by over 50%.

Design

Don’t assume every room needs overhead lighting. Lamp lighting is more attractive, functional and practical for many rooms, such as living rooms and bedrooms.

Use task lighting judiciously instead of bright overhead lights.

Open the curtains to maximize daylight instead of turning on artificial lights.

Use fluorescent fixtures for ceiling lights and wall sconces that will be turned on more than two hours a day.

Controls

Dimmers are inexpensive ways to reduce wattage and can save wear on most types of bulbs. Dimmed light is also more appealing for many rooms, such as dining rooms and bathrooms. Most hall fixtures can be dimmed significantly and still supply adequate light.

Occupancy sensors can automatically turn lights on and off when a person enters and leaves a room. In lieu of installing occupancy sensors, put notes or stickers on switch plates to remind family members to turn lights off when they exit.

Timers are useful for indoor and outdoor light control, and can save energy by switching lights off at pre-determined times.

Motion sensors are useful for conserving outdoor light use and have security benefits as well. Lights with motion sensors only come on when movement is detected, saving energy and giving the impression that someone inside the house has switched on the light.

Photo sensors are a good idea for outdoor lights that need to be on continuously during evening hours. They switch off automatically when daylight is detected.

Consider installing solar power outdoor lighting, which has the advantage of lower electricity costs and the convenience of no wiring.

Replacement and Maintenance

Linear fluorescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use less energy to give off just as much light. CFLs also produce 75% less heat, so they can help with cooling costs.  Because they don’t need changing as often, CFLs also help reduce waste.

Regularly clean lamp shades and light fixtures to reduce dust that interferes with light output.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are more expensive but use less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last longer.

 

Green homes in California not only help with the energy usage but add to the resale value. Dan Parisi says “Green homes are great for the environment and the owner’s assets. They will appreciate more than the energy saving.”

Living green isn’t only the right thing to do...it’s also the smart thing to do.

 

Green Cleaning Tips

Some commercial cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can adversely affect waterways, rivers, streams, aquatic life and indoor and outdoor air quality. Cleaning products can also be harsh to human skin, eyes and respiratory systems, particularly for allergy sufferers. Fortunately, there are some effective and often less expensive green alternatives that can be made with readily available natural products.

It is always good to test in a small area unseen first. Some specialty surfaces react to natural or man-made cleaning product differently. Test first is a good saying.

Kitchen

Use a biodegradable dishwashing powder which works without bleach and phosphates and doesn’t leave a chemical residue behind. Mix baking soda and water to clean sinks, counters and refrigerators.

White vinegar cuts grease on cooking utensils, stove tops and counter tops. Rinse with warm water.

Oven cleaners often contain a lot of strong chemicals and can irritate respiratory systems, eyes and skin. Instead, make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub the paste on the inside of a cool oven and wait a

few hours or overnight before scrubbing. Rinse any residue with a damp cloth.

Clogged kitchen drain? Instead of using a commercial drain cleaner with harsh chemicals, remove as much standing water as possible and try pouring boiling water (or baking soda followed by boiling water) down the drain. It may take several pots of boiling water to do the trick.

Use kosher salt or other coarse salt to clean copper cookware and ceramic baking dishes.

Bathroom

To clean tubs, mix baking soda and liquid soap to a thick consistency and add about a tablespoon of white vinegar. For tough spots that need more abrasion add some kosher salt to the mixture.

For a natural disinfectant, mix two cups of water, three tablespoons of liquid soap and 25 drops of tea tree oil. Or, mix 1/2 cup borax powder with one gallon of hot water.

To treat mildew on tile and other hard surfaces, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Spray or rub on mildew stains and wait a few minutes before rinsing. (Take care when applying this mixture; hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent and can fade fabrics, rugs, clothing, paint, etc.)

Laundry

To clean your washing machine safely and environmentally responsibly, remove clothes and add one cup of white vinegar before running a regular cycle.

To brighten laundry, add 1/2 cup of fresh, strained lemon juice to the rinse cycle. To remove detergent residue from clothes and to help prevent dark colors from fading, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Instead of chlorine bleach, try using about 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide per load. (Like bleach, hydrogen peroxide will fade colored fabrics.)

General Cleaning

To scrub floors other than hardwood, use washing soda (sodium carbonate) for tough jobs and rinse well. For everyday washing, dilute one cup of washing soda with one gallon of warm water and add two to three tablespoons of white vinegar.

For window cleaning, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar and one gallon of water in a spray bottle. Spray windows with the solution and use old newspapers instead of paper towels to wipe clean and shine.

For fresh carpet stains, use club soda to pour on the stain and blot dry. For bigger carpet spills, sprinkle cornmeal on the stain. Wait a few minutes and vacuum.

Baking soda or cornstarch makes a great carpet deodorizer. Just sprinkle it lightly across the carpet, wait a few minutes and vacuum.

Lemon juice can clean hard water deposits, tarnish on silver and can clean buildup and dirt on wood.

You don’t really need to use dusting sprays on furniture. Instead, lightly dampen a soft cloth with tap water and dust.

In lieu of air fresheners, simmer apple cider, pineapple juice or orange juice with cinnamon sticks and

cloves on the cook top. Do not leave the mixture unattended and watch carefully to make sure that the liquid doesn’t boil completely down.

Living green isn’t only the right thing to do...it’s also the smart thing to do.

Cooling

In California heating and cooling is likely your largest energy expense so changes made here may have the biggest impact on your budget. Heating and cooling costs comprise 50% or more of the average American utility bill.

One of the best ways to curb heating and cooling bills is to use a programmable digital thermostat set to accommodate your family’s schedule. The thermostat will automatically raise and lower temperatures as needed, conserving energy and keeping your home at comfortable temperature levels.

In Sacramento the cooling systems is the major user of energy. Creating a green home starts with effectively using the energy dedicated to the cooling of the house. Following is a list of way to lower your cooling energy provided by Live Green Save Green and American home shield.

In general, central air conditioners are more energy efficient than room air conditioners.

To save on energy costs, turn your thermostat up two degrees in the summer. Your family will likely not notice such a small change but you’ll use less energy. Also, turn the air conditioner up when the house is empty.

Switching to high efficiency air conditioning units can reduce energy use by 20–50%, so consider replacing the outdoor compressors of older units with newer systems. Even if your air conditioner is only ten years old, you could save significantly on energy costs.

Look for a model with a high efficiency rating. Central air conditioners are rated according to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), which measures the amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 13. The higher the SEER, the greater your energy savings are. (Look for ENERGY STAR labeled central air conditioning systems with SEER 13/14 or greater.)

The efficiency of room air conditioners is lower than central air conditioning units, but the costs to operate room units may be less. Room air conditioning efficiency is measured by Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. Room air conditioners built after Jan. 1, 1990, must have EER of 8.0 or greater. Look for units with EER of 10 or more.

Placing the condensing unit in a shady spot can reduce cooling costs by up to 2%. If moving the condensing unit isn’t feasible, consider adding some shade plantings around it, but take care to regularly remove leaves and other debris that may fall into or onto the unit.

Installing a lighter color roof or reflective roofing can also lower cooling costs.

Attic fans help cool attics and reduce cooling costs, too. Some newer attic fans are even solar powered. Make sure the roof is properly vented for maximum benefits.

White window treatments reflect heat away from the house, reducing air conditioning needs as well as letting in more light and reducing the need for artificial lighting.

Close off all rooms that are not in use.

 

Green Home for sale