Going Green: Green Mindset for Coastal Homeowners
Whether you own a home on the coast or slightly inland it is important for homeowners to go green. This need is often driven by a frugal owner mindset or even a general change to improve the quality of your life. Whatever your reason, we have a few tips to help you go green. Homeowners can implement a plethora of products to improve their home. We (American Realty Services) recommend an environmentally friendly approach to all homes in Orange Country, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach. So, let’s delve straight into what you, the homeowner, can do…
This is becoming a common theme in homes across the country, not just along the coast. Coastal homes have a distinct advantage as they receive more sun throughout the day, and your home can thrive on that. You can save a great deal of money on electricity bills this way, too. Try to ensure your water heater, lights, and fans operate on solar power. Solar panel technology has been constantly improving, and you can inquire about the pricing for panels and inverters. Browse around for financing options, as well. Your initial investment may be large, but your savings in the long run will outweigh the initial cost. There are plenty of incentives from the government, too. You can check these out at the Go Solar California website.
This might not be as common a recommendation, but thermal drapes are very effective, especially if you have drafty windows and live in a very sunny location. Installing thermal drapes can reduce how hot your room becomes and can help your air conditioning unit cool the room much quicker, saving you more on electricity.
Energy Star Rated Appliances
You must do your due diligence when making purchases such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and other appliances. Be sure to check the Energy Star rating and buy units that can reduce energy consumption. Non Energy Star rated appliances tend to use up to 50% more energy and emit far more greenhouse gases.
Repair Faucets and Plumbing Defects Quickly
It’s easy to forget how quickly water can become a scarce resource, even though you live by the beach. California can encounter some rough summers at times. If you have a leaky tap that drips about one drop every 2 seconds, you can easily waste about 1200 gallons of water per day. Sometimes, leaks that are in the basement or in corners can be very hard to detect. If you have any suspicion, try monitoring the water meter when all the faucets are turned off for about a two hour period.
Coastal homes are often characterised by beautiful lawns that need to be rigorously maintained. If you employ a sprinkler system, ensure that it is optimized to water most of your lawn. More often than not, we see sprinklers spraying water onto the sidewalk and roads rather than the landscaping. With the current drought in California, Orange County has lawn watering restrictions. Watering can only be done up to two days a week, on specified days, anytime from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Figure out what kind of plants you have in your home and water them sparingly, based on their needs. If you have trees or shrubs, place a sprinkler or hose at the base of the plant and let the water tinkle down for 15-30 minutes and no more. Better yet, Plant flowers that are native to our region and are drought- tolerant (e.g. Iris Douglasiana, Geranium)
Vinegar Instead of Industrial Products
You can utilize vinegar to clean a surprising number of things around your home. It is extremely safe and might be a good option if you have infants around, as well. Vinegar can easily get rid of bacteria and mold. This is an amazing life hack that you might not be aware of! You will be able to make kitchen surfaces, mirrors, and even tiles spotless with just a bottle of white vinegar that you can obtain from the supermarket for a dollar or two.
LED vs. CFL Bulbs
This can be a very tricky question to answer for most homeowners. The clear advantages of LED bulbs are that they last longer than CFL bulbs. However, LEDs cost more. Both options are much better than incandescent lights, which are slowly being phased out. The advantages that CFL or florescent bulbs have are that they fit in old sockets and the effect is similar to the incandescent lights you are probably used to. A major disadvantage of CFL is that there is mercury inside, and they must be disposed of very carefully. Our recommendation would be to adopt a mixture of these technologies in your coastal home. Use the LEDs for decorative purposes in the living room or lounge and adopt the CFL for your bathroom and kitchen.
If you live by the coast, it would be best to hang your clothes on an outdoor line instead of using a dryer. Yes, a dryer can save you a precious few hours, but it can be one of the most expensive appliances to run. Dryers also increase the wear and tear on most clothing.
Adopt water resistant flooring, such as vinyl or tiles that do not collect moisture quickly. These are very easy to clean, too.
If your home has a deck, try to employ a recycled content deck made of plastic, wood, and waste fibres. These are far more durable than any wooden deck you will find.
Insulation is also a key to saving money and energy, especially in your attic and plumbing. Consider using a high grade of insulation in your attic and walls to save on your electric bill and keep the temperature of your home more consistent.
Whether you live in Orange Country or in a coastal city, it is imperative that your frugality doesn’t hinder long-term savings and durability. Some of these suggestions can require initial capital, but the gains in the long run are massive.