What more can I do at home?

iStock_000021725490Medium.jpg

1. Recycle-mania.

In addition to filling the big blue roll cart and maximizing your curbside recycling, push yourself to recycle and reuse as many materials as you can. The Orange County A to Z Recyclery is a great resource for this challenge! Can you get to zero waste?

2. Compost the Most.

If you have yard space, start a compost for food scraps. This is great way to create rich soils that can add nutrients to your plant beds. If a kitchen compost bin is more your style, there are companies that will collect your compost and clean the bin. By composting your food, you reduce methane landfill emissions!

3. Does your home need an energy makeover?

If your home isn’t already certified (e.g., Energy Star), there are probably some upgrades you can make to reduce your energy consumption. Energy upgrades often include things like insulation, air sealing and lighting. Sometimes there are opportunities to replace thermostats or mechanical equipment. A home energy audit (or assessment) is a good place to start. Duke Energy offers a free home energy assessment and energy efficiency starter kit. You can also look for companies that perform home energy audits and energy improvements. Tip: Ask if the company will stand behind their projected energy savings.

4. Test the waters.

Similar to an energy audit, you can audit your home's water use. Try OWASA’s do-it-yourself water audit and track your savings through the Agua Vista online portal.

5. Make your own energy.

If you’ve done as much as you can to save energy and you’re looking to do more, see if your home is a good candidate for renewable energy. For our area, the most common type of renewable energy installation is solar photovoltaics (PV). To see if your home is a good candidate for rooftop solar PV, try Google Sunroof. Most solar system installers will give you a free rooftop assessment and quote. Solar water heating is also possible in our area. Tip: Ask the installer if the solar system will need to be removed for your next roof replacement? The timing of a roof replacement may be an important consideration for you. Also, ask your installer about the availability of tax credits and utility rebates. These can help improve the projected payback of a solar system.

If your home is not a good candidate for solar, then your property may be adding other important benefits like large shade trees. To go carbon neutral, calculate your home’s carbon footprint and consider purchasing carbon offsets.