Climate change continues to be a major topic of discussion. Affecting everything from politics and economics to consumer goods and health, the impact of massive shifts in climate and weather will have an untold number of effects on our planet.
Hearing all of the news surrounding this challenge can make many of us feel frustrated or helpless. After all, an individual acting on behalf of a planet of nearly eight billion people may seem completely hopeless.
Yet as a homeowner, there are many things you can do to save money, improve efficiency and help avert a climate crisis in conjunction with your fellow homeowners. Let’s take a look at what you can do, starting today!
Install Solar Panels
Arguably the single biggest action any homeowner can take is to reduce or eliminate their consumption of energy powered by fossil fuels. The easiest way for homeowners to partially or completely eliminate their need for non-renewable energy while saving money is to install solar panels.
Solar panels are now just as affordable as traditional energy in many parts of the US and world. Even better: solar panels lock in your true cost of energy, rather than being held to ransom by the ever-increasing prices of utility companies.
Solar panels such as those available from sempersolaris.com use the latest technology and help homeowners kick their fossil fuel habits once and for all. Offering help with permits and financing, they make the entire process – including installation and maintenance – a clean, green breeze.
Paint Your Roof White
Most homes have standard shingle-based roofs, which are typically dark gray, dark blue or black. The darker a surface is, the more heat it traps – and with billions of structures and surfaces on the planet, all of them absorbing energy, this effect – known as albedo – is warming the planet.
Painting your roof white or otherwise replacing the material with a light color alternative can greatly decrease your cooling costs during summer months. Particularly in urban areas, these high-albedo roofs can lower local temperatures and help reduce the amount of heat being trapped in the atmosphere.
Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
You can probably think of a few major appliances in the home that use a lot of energy, such as televisions, refrigerators, and washers/dryers. However, the water heater in a home consumes a large amount of energy – many homeowners spend hundreds of dollars per year just on the electricity their water heaters use!
You can improve energy efficiency, lower your utility bills, and help save the environment by lowering your water heater’s temperature. Adjusting the water heater is a simple task, and most people can reduce the temperature by 20 degrees without noticing any tangible difference.
Modernize Your Windows
If your home is older, then the chances are good that the windows are not energy efficient. Single-pane window variants were common in previous decades, but they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to insulating the home and reducing energy consumption.
Newer double-pane windows not only add value to your home if and when you resell, but they maximize heating and cooling potential. At the same time, you can save hundreds of dollars per year or more in energy costs: some estimates suggest that replacing older windows with energy-efficient variants can reduce heating and cooling costs by 30%.
Plant Trees Around the House
It’s not just about improving the house itself: you can fight the climate crisis by sprucing up your yard with, well, spruces! In actuality, there are many types of trees homeowners can plant to fight the effects of climate change and improve energy efficiency; what matters most is where you plant them.
Planting trees along the southern corners of your home can provide valuable shade in the summer months, helping to reduce cooling costs. In the winter, having a row of trees along the north and west of the home can block out cold winds that reduce the indoor temperature. Of course, you want to avoid placing trees that directly block southern light if you’re also installing solar panels, but all of this can be accomplished (click here for a tree planting guide that maximizes energy efficiency).
Recycle, Reuse and Compost
Homeowners have a bit more control over their surroundings than non-homeowners, so it’s important to take advantage of your residential privilege when possible.
Making the most of your plastics, metals and other recyclable materials around the home can reduce greenhouse gases and emissions by avoiding excess consumer purchases. You can even find reusable building supplies locally for specific home improvement projects.
Composting is another great idea for those who love to work in the yard. Rather than throwing out all that wasted food that took energy, fuel, and resources to arrive at your table, utilize it in creating organic and sustainable growing mediums that’ll better fertilize your plants and bushes. After all, healthy plants are better at capturing CO2 in the atmosphere!
There are many projects and changes you can make around the home to fight the climate crisis as an individual. Some of them are small and easy, while others are big and require investment. Regardless of which changes you settle on you’ll be able to take pride in knowing that you’re doing your part to turn back the clock on this worldwide crisis.