How to Make Your Home More Enegry Efficient and Eco Friendly

With the winter looming just around the corner, your home’s energy efficiency starts to weigh heavily not only in terms of being green from the environmental, personal, and social perspective, but it is becoming increasingly important because of very high heating costs.

In this guide I am going to present some fairly easy to implement ideas on how to increase your home’s energy efficiency on a budget.

Home Insulation Ideas

If your home was built before 1970s, then it is very likely that it does not have sufficient levels of insulation, which results in unnecessary heat loss. Many states now offer some very attractive home insulation programs, grants and rebates. For instance, the state of Massachusetts, my home state, provides a 75% tax credit rebate on energy efficient insulation up to $2000.00 (year 2011).

There are many similar programs in other states, and taking advantage of similar energy efficient insulation rebate programs will put money back in your pocket, and reduce your heating and cooling costs. Additionally, it will also increase the saleability of your home, reduce the chance of your heating pipes bursting in the winter, reduce cold air drafts, and make your home a more comfortable place for you and your family.

Attic Insulation

Going back to older homes built before 1970s, if you happen to live in one, chances are that your loft or attic insulation is not sufficiently insulated and ventilated. This is a common reason for ice dams on the roof in the winter and costly roof, walls, and insulation damages that may not necessarily be covered by homeowners insurance.

You can better insulate your attic by locating air leaks, and applying a caulk sealant to stop the unwanted air leaks. You can feel for these air leaks with your hand, or buy a special tool for detecting thermal leaks in your home at your local home improvement store. Another alternative would be having a professional home energy audit performed in your house, which would give you a complete report outlining locations where energy loss due to insufficient insulation and air leaks occurs.

You can then follow up on recommendations of the home energy audit report, and have a contractor insulate and seal poorly insulated, and poorly sealed areas in your house for you. If you are into DIY and want to save some money, you can tackle these issues yourself with the help of specialty sealants, and attic insulation bats.

Having a sufficiently insulated and properly ventilated attic will help prevent ice dams on your roof. Being prepared for cold storms with a properly insulated home can save a ton of money and headaches from having to deal with busted pipes and ice dams damage in the winter. Trust me on this!

If you plan on having a new roof installed any time soon, then consider replacing the old one with an energy efficient metal roofing system, which will help reduce your cooling costs in the summer, and help stop ice dams in the winter.

Insulating Walls

You can have your walls insulated with a blown in insulation, or you can have more insulation put in, if you are planning to install new siding on your house some time in the near future. Obviously, blown insulation is much easier and less costly than ripping apart your sheet rock to install a cavity wall insulation, but if you are doing a complete remodel of certain rooms in your home, and you are taking off old sheet rock, then you can have your wall cavities insulated during this time. Although, in all honesty ripping off your old sheet rock, or plaster and installing a new one is a messy and expensive way to do it.

Simple Way to Insulate Windows for the Winter

If you do not quite have the money to replace your old windows with energy efficient ones, then you can install a special film over them.This will reduce the cold air drafts, keep your rooms warmer and save money on reduced heating bills.

If you have already implemented all of the above measures, and are ready for the next step, consider replacing your old oil burner with an energy efficient gas heating system. Once again, there may be some good rebates available when you choose to upgrade your heating system with a 92 to 96% energy efficient gas burner. The cost of gas is less than the cost of oil, and having an energy efficient burner will further reduce your heating costs in the winter. You can also install energy efficient gas-powered hot water burners to reduce the cost of heating water in your home.

Other energy efficient modifications to consider include: LED lighting, low flow faucets, shower heads and dual flush toilets that will conserve water year round.

Grow Organic Vegetables Right in Your Own Back Yard

To avoid feeling sick to your stomach every time you hear about food being recalled, why not grow vegetables for your family right in your very own back yard? With all the food recalls and scares it is hard not to feel at times that there really isn’t any absolutely safe food available on the market for people to purchase and bring home to their families.

Grow Organic vegetables in Your Back Garden

Growing vegetables in your own back yard is probably the best location for this type of project, especially when the majority of the farm land on sale is being purchased by developers. Even if it was not being sold to these businessmen, the price is too high for most people. Growing organic vegetables in the back yard is cheaper and really much more practical; this project does not require as much space as some may think.

With a little bit of out of the box thinking, you may be pleasantly surprised to see just what type of garden you can grow in your own personal space. An example of one of these ideas is to plant your vegetables in an object that is mobile such as an old wagon; this will make it easier for you to move your little garden into the shade or into the sun.

If the idea of digging around in the back yard is not appealing, then another option is to plant your garden in large sized steel buckets that are galvanized. For a more creative individual, the garden can be placed in pots throughout the yard which can be bought in different types of designs or you can even paint them on your own. The amount of space that you may have to work with should not discourage you from taking on this life changing project, no matter how small the space might be.

How to build a Fire Pit in Your Yard

If you have spare bricks or some good sized rocks laying around your yard, then you have the perfect material already available to build your fire pit. If you don’t, you can easily purchase fieldstone at your local DIY store, or you can go out into the woods and find some for free. If you prefer to use bricks, you can purchase them at your local hardware store.

Before you start building your fire pit, speak with someone in your local fire department regarding any city ordinances or fire codes that you need to follow when building and using your fire pit. Then, choose a nice spot in your backyard that is clear of any buildings, trees, bushes and your everyday backyard traffic. Mark out where you want to build your fire pit, the size of the pit, and then dig it out. You want to make the pit deep enough so that when you have a fire built and blazing within the pit, the flames will not shoot out above the pit’s rim. Once you have dug the pit, line it with the fieldstone or bricks.

How to build Fire Pit DIY

If you are unsure how big your fire pit should be, go to your local hardware store and see if they sell large round grill plates. This is the surface you grill your food on with a traditional barbecue. You may need to order one from a specialty fireplace store. This can act as an estimate for the size of your pit, as well as provide you with a surface you can grill on. You will also need a cover for your pit. This will help keep your fire pit free from debris and ready to use at all times.

While some people are willing to simply use their imagination to build their fire pits, the less adventurous can purchase a kit that provides all the materials they need to build it. These kits typically also include a cover, as well as a grill surface.