Eric Corey Freed, architect and principal of Organic Architect, has a new book in stores this month — Green$ense for the Home — and Allison Arieff was able to pry a list out of Freed of simple green home projects for renters and homeowners. This is the low-hanging fruit, to use the proverbial phrase, but that doesn't mean there's no impact or benefit. To paraphrase Freed’s responses to Arieff, here are the nine green projects:
1. Change Your Light Bulbs.
Give or take regional differences and preferences, lighting accounts for more than 10% of residential energy use, so swap incandescent lighting for CFLs and LEDs for considerable lighting energy savings.
2. Cause Toilets to Use Less Water.
Water is the next big constrained resource, so even if you’re not changing out your old toilet, use retrofits and other tank tricks to use less water.
3. Use Less Shower Water.
When you shower, you’re using not just water but energy to heat the water. Cutting back on idle moments is one thing, but using a good, pressurized, low-flow shower head will cut water and energy waste, too.
4. Control Vampire Loads.
When equipment is plugged in, it’s probably drawing energy, so use smart strips, power strips, or manual unplugging to cut back on energy draws while equipment is not in use.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat.
A properly programmed thermostat can save somewhere between 20-30% on annual heating and cooling bills. You can help this process by dressing accordingly, depending on the settings and time of year.
6. Insulate Your Hot Water Heater.
Wrap your tank-type water heater with insulation to minimize costs associated with having to keep water hot in the tank.
7. Weatherize Your Windows.
Seal cracks and leaks around doors and windows with a low- or no-VOC caulk. This can lead to savings from minimizing the heating and cooling losses.
8. Use a Clothesline.
Using a clothesline may be prohibited in certain residential areas, but using one of these can help save the energy required to power an electric or gas dryer.
9. Compost and Recycle Trash.
Recycling and composting leads to less waste in our land fills, but it also generates stock for recycled content products and fertile gardening soil.
Read more detailed information on each of these nine green home projects from Good.