Everyone wants to be more environmentally conscious. But for many, aside from EV drivers, it can be difficult to know what to do outside of recycling, while others fear environmental changes may be troublesome, expensive, or unsightly. There are plenty of easy ways however to make your home a greener place that actually save you money and don’t require living in a home that looks like an alien space ship (we promise).
Install EVSE in Your Garage
Whether you already drive an EV or wish you did, installation of a simple charging station at your home can make owning and driving an EV easier than ever. It can also raise your home’s value. PluginCars writes that a good quality EVSE will cost between $500-$700 for a Level 1 Charger and should provide 30 amps to reduce charging time. A 30 amp charger will require a circuit breaker rated for at least 40 amps, and a dedicated branch circuit. It’s easier than ever to purchase and install one in your home. Blink offers an intuitive home charging station that can even be bought on Amazon. If a home already has adequate electrical service- and most do to run large electrical equipment like clothes dryers and refrigerators- installation is inexpensive.
Long term costs are about the same as running an air conditioner, and some owners report seeing almost no change in their electric bills, while fuel savings can be astronomical. According to Energy Sage, the average EV in the U.S. costs $485 a year to operate, while a comparable gas-powered vehicle costs $1,117.
Making green changes to your home not only doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, many changes save time and money while raising your home’s value.
Solar Hot Water Heaters
According to HowStuffWorks’ “Top 10 Green Technologies for the Home,” solar hot water heaters use energy from the sun to heat the water in your home. The hot water stays in an insulated tank, ready for use. While it costs more initially to install these water heaters, water heating bills often drop 50-80%. Those who require hot water late in the day often have a gas or electric backup in the evening, reaping the savings during the daytime.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
A geothermal heat pump is a central heating and cooling system that transfers heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth, with no intermittence, as either a heat source in the winter, or a heat sink in the summer. Most geothermal heat pumps do well maintaining most temperatures at which home owners are comfortable. They can be especially useful for old, large, or multi-story homes that are difficult and pricey to heat and cool, maintaining a comfortable temperature at a 30-40% savings off your electricity bill.
Dual Flush Toilets
Toilets use more water than anything else in your home! But every flush doesn’t require the same amount of water, so why use the same amount? Dual Flush toilets use different amounts of water for liquid or solid waste, and are more efficient at removing solid waste than conventional toilets. They cost around $270, minus labor, but there are also kits available in hardware stores and online which can convert your toilet to dual flush without a plumber.
We all know black absorbs heat and white reflects it, but few people know about the White Roof Project. According to their website, painting a roof white can reflect up to 90% of sunlight! Black roofs reflect around 20%. The Urban Heat Island Effect, as the Project describes it, analyzes the difference in temperature between a city and the suburban areas surrounding it. Cities hold heat because they are surrounded by the color black (black roads, black asphalt, black roofs). They found that a city of 1 million people can be up to 22 degrees warmer than the surrounding area! Painting roofs white helps keep urban areas cooler, saves the home owner money, and even helps decrease global warning.
Do black roofs keep a home warmer in the winter or benefit those who live far north? Not really. Because of the angle at which the sun hits the northern hemisphere in the winter, very little heat is absorbed through roofs during that time of year. White roofs pay off in the summer and have little to no effect in the winter.
Make Your Own Compost
It’s no secret that Americans throw away quite a bit. In fact, according to the Guardian online, we waste 150,000 tons of food every day, which comes to about a pound per person. Wrapped up in plastic trash bags, that nutrient-rich waste can’t break down as it should. Food trash is essentially free fertilizer, so why not turn it into compost instead? Many Americans have their own gardens- vegetable, flower, or both– and spend money on fertilizer, when the food they don’t want can be broken down into fertile soil.
Those who live in rural areas can often create their own compost bins from metal trash cans, while most can find compost bins inexpensively on Amazon in or in garden stores. See EarthEasy.com for specific suggestions about carbon and nitrogen content as well as how much of each ingredient to compost.