This past year while on special assignment to assist the EPA Green Building Program, I had the opportunity to create the EPA Green Homes website. This website provides pages of useful, practical information and advice for the homeowner or apartment dweller to live a greener, more energy efficient life at home.
While I was developing the website, my wife and I decided to implement as many of the recommendations as possible to see if we could live greener, and after six months the results are in!
- We are using 35% less electricity,
- We are using a bit less water,
- We are recycling 75% of all our household waste,
- Most storm water runoff stays on our property during each rainfall,
- We are gradually eliminating our ½ acre of lawn (and all the work that goes with it) and turning it into a garden of native plants by re-naturalizing our yard.
- We purchased 100% Green Power (renewable electricity) from Dominion Power through their new program.
- And, we’ve done all this with minimal expense and are saving almost $550 a year on energy bills!
Our energy audit indicated that our 10 inches (R-25) of fiberglass insulation in the attic is far below Energy Star’s currently recommended insulation depth (R49-R60) for the Northern Virginia. So we hired a contractor to blow in another 12 inches of fiberglass insulation to give us a total of about R-55. The house already feels more comfortable and it will be fun to see how much we save on our natural gas heating bill. On top of this, the Federal and Virginia State governments want to give us 50% off the cost of the insulation in tax credits and rebates!!!
So how can you lose? Going Green really can pay off!
I encourage you to visit the website and challenge yourself to do as much as you can to go green.
EPA’s new Green Homes website is at- www.epa.gov/greenhomes
About the author: Bill Swietlik has worked in EPA’s Office of Water in Washington DC since 1988. For the past year Bill was on a special assignment to the EPA Green Building Program creating a Green Homes website. In this blog he shares his experience of greening his home.