A smart homeowner can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs with proper sealing and insulating, according to EnergyStar.gov. Assuming the air-sealed home has sufficient and adequate ventilation, air sealing is supposed to reduce energy costs and improve indoor comfort. One area that typically needs attention is recessed lighting. In the video above, Yves Vetter of Vesta Home Performance, explains how to seal a can light from below.
Although formaldehyde is now listed as a known carcinogen by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, humans will be exposed to this substance in the environment, at home, and in the workplace. It’s in soil, food, and water, not to mention one of the primary methods of exposure: indoor and outdoor air. And besides being a carcinogen, health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; and severe allergic reactions, according to the EPA.
While green homes often sport all manner of technical solutions to keep them optimized and efficient, the landscaping can have a significant effect on the building and its energy use. Site orientation and landscape can also be powerful tools to control the energy needs of a building. While it’s not practical to reorient most homes, in many cases you can still make improvements by planting trees.
In this rather concise TED video, Kamal Meattle explains that there are three common plants that can be used to grow all the fresh air needed to maintain human health. Research suggests that these plants can help with tight, energy-efficient structures to mitigate what’s commonly referred to as sick building syndrome. The plants are:
For the holiday, I mozied down to Home Depot to get some replacement lights and to generally just walk around. I noticed more green products on the shelves and was surprised to see this WaterSense Glacier Bay toilet with Niagara’s Flapperless flush system selling for $88. On the way out, I was given a copy of The Green Guide with these 10 suggestions for saving money, energy, and water.
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Some folks are stockpiling light bulbs in anticipation of the future phase-out of standard incandescents, according to USA Today. It seems hoarders are doing it for one or two reasons: cost and/or lighting concerns. But these shouldn’t be concerns. With a little bit of math (initial cost + operating cost) and an understanding of basic lighting terms (lumen, watt, color accuracy, color temperature), I think the switch is a no-brainer. So here’s a five-step program for the hoarder: