Friday, March 27, 2009

Top 5 Ways to Go Green at Home

Frank Wickstead, president of the Atlanta remodeling firm WicksteadWorks, suggests five of the fastest ways to turn your home into an eco-friendly environment.

Switch to LED bulbs: “These bulbs are rapidly becoming more affordable,” Wickstead said. “They’re cooler; they use almost no electricity; and they have an unbelievably long lifespan.” They’re also ideal for cutting the cost of those outdoor lights you want to leave on all night.

Add new attic insulation: “The best thing you can do for your house without tearing into the walls is to put open-cell spray foam insulation in the attic,” said Wickstead. The brand Icynene is among the most popular that can be sprayed along the rafters to create an air barrier, making the attic part of the building envelope. Learn more about open-cell spray foam.

Encapsulate the crawlspace: This is a DIY project that will vastly improve the air quality in the house. Install a vapor barrier and insulated foam boards along the side walls to create a tight seal.

Eliminate air exchanges: Any spot where warm or cool air is escaping is an energy drain. Most homeowners are familiar with weatherstripping around windows and doors, but what about electrical outlets? An ultracheap (about 15 cents) square of foam insulation behind a switch plate can plug the hole.

Replace old toilets: “Dual flush toilets are awesome and they start at $260,” Wickstead said. “They’ll decrease water usage up to 30 percent, and it’s something you can change out yourself.”

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