Green = Green

Summer is almost here, and this week’s spring rain is too little, too late.  As most know, nearly all of California is in a drought.  San Joaquin farmers must drill over 1,200 feet to tap into underground water, and California is in a mild state of panic.  Shortages of water, energy, and other resources invariably impact our way of living.  Therefore, facing this water shortage, practicing water conservation in homes is essential.  Residents must constantly work hard to address these issues by being green conscious, including changing the way they live and consuming resources in our living spaces.  The silver lining is, with the advanced materials and today’s government incentives, being green conscious has never been easier and can bring in the big bucks.

Going green does not have to be drastic.  Sustainable living can be achieved in different scales.  Some take on massive projects like having a pre-fabricated home.  Many others take a more moderate approach by remodeling strategically to improve energy efficiency.  Even if someone does not have a large budget to go green, they can do smaller improvements like changing light bulbs to reduce energy bills or shop for materials that do not require long distance shipping.

Prefabricated Homes

Instead of suffering through the weather and building a home on site, prefab houses, built off-site and then shipped to the site, are designed to create an energy efficient and healthier living environment for a family.  Innovative designs reduce electricity through an energy-efficient envelope and efficient lighting and appliances throughout the house.  Prefabs are not two-room, identical cottages without indoor plumbing anymore, some are thousands of square feet and have a selection of different styles to choose.  These fabulous prefab houses are climate controlled, greener and energy-efficient, and healthier to live in than a typical home.  Prefab homes also have less turn-around time, which means rental costs are reduced while waiting for a dream home to be built.

Salvaging Materials from Original Homes

There are also ways to go green when building a non-prefab dream home.  Not only can some of the building materials be sold before the original home is torn down, but owners can also incorporate the salvaged materials into the construction or renovation of their home.  Salvaging building materials and reusing them saves energy, as well as reduces greenhouse gas emissions by minimizing the need to harvest raw materials and ship materials long distances.  The beauty is while protecting the economic and environmental impact of our waste management, owners save lots of money in disposal fees as well as recoup funds from reselling the unwanted building materials. Smart

Building Design & Material Choices

Some may want to remodel and be impressively passive.  With improved insulation materials and energy saving appliances, your home can be incredibly efficient using smart passive designs.  New solar panels are getting more affordable and economical, and with enough electricity generated, owners can even become energy independent and obtain credits from local utilities companies.  Passive solar designs do not always need to be photovoltaic cells either.  Smart building design can use the sun’s heat energy and its predictable movements through the seasons to heat a home by placing large windows on the south-facing side to absorb energy in the winter and shade the house in the summer.

There are even things one can do to green a home, such as making smarter material choices.  Small items like furniture, furnishing, flooring and window coverings painted with low or no VOC paint, and other goods all contribute to the health and sustainability of your home.  Owners should focus on rebate-approved brands and styles for appliances.  They may also change out light bulbs to more energy efficient LED lights, as well as install whole-house, intelligent lighting systems.  They allow one to shut off all lights with one single push of a button or control them remotely using a smart phone.  Owners also can pay less by downsizing their garbage can coupled with more recycling.  They should also try to save on their soon-to-be expensive water bills by growing drought resistant plants. 

There are so many ways to save money while simultaneously saving the environment - a win-win situation.  Going green is profitable for owners and highly beneficial to the beautiful state we live in.  Green equals Green.  If going green is the future, making a home green is certainly a rewarding investment.  California citizens can face this drought by being their own rainmaker.  Raining dollar bills, that is.