People living in the San Francisco area are well known for their eco-friendly lifestyles. The community has been a progressive force for years and, when it comes to green living, it’s only getting better! But maybe you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. Perhaps you were worried about the cost or you simply had other home improvements that were a priority. Whatever the reason for your hesitation, you’re now thinking about making a big green move. But what should you do? Here are some ideas for large projects that will seriously increase your home’s efficiency.
1. Install Solar Panels – This is one of the most well-known ways to go green, and for good reason! After all, most of your other home improvement projects don’t come with government incentives or rebates. Plus, how many of those other upgrades ever result in a negative balance on your energy bill? With solar panels, you’ll pay a bit upfront, but some of that cost will be mitigated by the incentives, and the rest will pay for itself when you don’t have to spend money on powering your home. In fact, if your panels generate more energy than you actually need, the power company will owe you credit that can be put toward later bills. In other words, you may never have to pay for power again!
2. South-Facing Windows & Overhangs – Did you know that the size and placement of your windows will have a big impact on how much natural light and heat is let into your home? Some of the most dedicated homeowners have taken advantage of the natural winter light by installing larger, south-facing windows in their homes to absorb the rays. This cuts the amount of energy that you’ll need to heat the home when it’s cooler out. But wait, won’t that make it crazy hot in summer? By installing an overhang to block these same windows during the summer when the sun is higher, you can keep the house cool.
3. Invest in water-saving appliances – Obviously, heating and cooling are not the only things you need to worry about when creating an eco-friendly abode. Water consumption is also a really big issue, especially since we are still facing a drought. By investing in water-saving appliances, such as low-flow faucets and showerheads, high-efficiency washing machines, and water efficient toilets, you can waste less of this precious resource and have lower water bills to boot!
4. Plant a Living Roof – Have some flat-ish roof space and looking for something unique that will set your home apart from all the rest and make it greener? A living roof is one of the newest eco-trends to hit the environmental community. This roof will usually be covered with grasses, shrubs or other ground covers that will create more oxygen and beautify your home. If you are planning to put up solar panels, too, don’t worry! The panels can be placed on the ground just by your house or you can simply limit the amount of space dedicated to your living roof. Remember, you’ll need to check with your township first and then consult an architect or contractor to ensure that your roof will withstand the weight of the soil and plants. Also, remember to look for drought-tolerant ground covers so that you won’t have to devote extra water to the roof.
What other green measures are you considering for your home? If you live in the Marin area and are interested in solar power, give us a call today at Sun First Solar! We can provide you with an estimate and get you on the road to energy-efficiency in no time!