Top Six Green Investments You Can Make For Your Pacific Northwest Home
January 26, 2020
Energy costs are one of the most significant monthly expenses you can have as a homeowner. If you’re looking for safe, durable, and easy ways to save on energy costs, we have the top six simple and common-sense techniques that you can make for your home, while still keeping your family comfortable throughout the seasons.
1. Go Ductless
What is ductless heating? A ductless heating system is an effective solution for providing primary heat and cooling for your home. Ductless heating systems are able to heat rooms at a fraction of the cost of baseboard heat or electric furnaces.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are two-way heat pumps that transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding refrigerant. Ductless heating systems consist of several parts, including:
- An outdoor unit that contains a condensing coil, an inverter-driven variable speed compressor, an expansion valve and a fan to cool the condenser coil
- An indoor unit that contains an evaporator and a quiet oscillating fan to distribute air throughout the living space
- A refrigerant line-set that is made of insulated copper tubing and is housed in a conduit alongside a power cable
- Optional Wi-Fi enabled controls that can be used to set the desired temperature and program for night settings
Ductless systems are highly efficient, typically using 25%–50% less energy than baseboard heaters or electric forced-air furnaces. Modern ductless systems have extremely good seasonal energy efficiency ratios, or SEER, between 16 and 22, and heating seasonal performance factors, or HSPF, that range from 9 to 12 or greater.
Contact Alpine Ductless in Olympia, Washington to learn more about Ductless Heating and Cooling and if it's right for you.
2. Rain Barrels
Outdoor water use, such as watering your lawn or garden, is a major factor in a home's overall water usage. A rain barrel is a way for collecting rainwater, for future irrigation use.
Rain collectors are extremely simple mechanical systems that connect to a gutter system or other rooftop water collection network and store rainwater in a barrel or cistern. These systems are extremely inexpensive, provided you purchase and assemble the rain collection equipment yourself.
3. Improving Insulation and Windows
Based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, 10% of household energy usage is due to energy loss from poor insulation. As a do-it-yourself project or a project for your local contractor, you will get an excellent return on investment from sealing your home to prevent heat from entering or leaving your home.
Like poor insulation, energy can escape through single pane or inadequately sealed windows. Typically, 25% of annual heating and cooling costs can be attributed to non-energy efficient or single-pane windows. Replacing all of your home’s windows with double-paned glass could save in monthly energy costs, and could offset the initial investment in the long-term.
4. Energy Monitors
One of the easiest things you can do to decrease energy consumption around the house is to install an energy monitor. Household energy monitors are easy to use and inexpensive, and allow you to see a presentation of your daily energy use.
These devices work by clipping onto the power cable coming into your home and transmitting a wireless signal to a display that shows precisely the amount of power being consumed. Households with energy monitors can save between 10% and 15% annually.
5. Solar Panels
Solar panels, or photovoltaic cells, are one of the best ways to reduce pollution and lower your electricity expenses. Modern solar panels are more efficient than their predecessors, and some companies are making panels that are more aesthetically pleasing.
The initial cost of installation for the typical solar array comes is on the higher end, but green energy tax credits, federal rebates, and state incentives help lower costs. With little to no maintenance required, solar panels are a long-term investment that can save you money over time.
6. Solar Water Heaters
A solar hot water heater uses the sun's heat and energy to heat your home's water, rather than using electricity or natural gas like conventional water heaters. The heated water stays in an insulated tank until you're ready to use it.
While solar water heaters cost more to install than traditional water heaters, you could save 50% to 80% on your water heating bills. The costs associated with installation can be recouped due to the increased efficiency of solar water heating systems, and the lower costs of monthly bills.
When considering making changes around your home, it’s important to realize the long-term effects of your initial investment. Prioritizing what options can have the biggest impact will help you build an action plan to start improving your home and save you money.
Contact Alpine Ductless in Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Yelm, Tacoma and more to learn more about Ductless Heating and Cooling and if it's right for you.