By Drew Hendricks (Twitter: @DrewAHendricks)
WASHINGTON, January 14, 2013 — Going green has been an ongoing trend that’s been pushed for years by the Federal government. We’ve been aware all along, of course, that it’s better to use fabric bags instead of plastic ones when we go shopping, and to turn off lights when we’re not using them. But a new year is always an excellent time to look at what you’re doing individually and what more you can be doing to save energy and save money as well in the process.
Even with all of the innovations in green tech and energy efficient buildings, there have been setbacks that have kept us from fully embracing a green lifestyle in our daily lives. However, 2014 promises to be a big year for accessible green technology, making now a great time for small businesses and homes to adapt reliable, eco-friendly buildings and appliances.
Why now is the time to make the switch
Technology is always changing and improving. For a considerable period of time, green tech was either too expensive for the average family. In many cases, it still had some kinks that needed to be worked out. An example of this recently surfaced in New Orleans, where it was discovered that the sustainable, green building materials used in post-Katrina rebuilding projects are now rotting after just a few years.
Since then, we have learned considerably more about eco-friendly lumber and other building materials. In 2014 you can expect to see many more eco-friendly products out there that are just as good as their less-sustainable counterparts, if not better.
Last week’s 2014 edition of the annual Las Vegas tech product convention, now known as CES, unveiled some incredible eco-friendly gadgets for 2014. Among the many presenters, Bosch showed off some of their ideas for an eco-friendly home that are likely to find their way into homes across the world.
The imaginative green technology that’s making its way onto the market now is staggering. It seems like every week there’s a new Kickstarter for some more efficient lightbulb or green gadget. As you’re making resolutions for this new year, living ethically and sustainably is one of those goals that everyone can take on without sacrificing their lifestyles.
Even if you’re not able to go out and buy sustainable building materials for home renovations or invest in solar panels for your entire roof (although they may pay off in the long run), there are a lot of ways you can reduce your household’s impact on the environment.
For example, in some jurisdictions, you can now choose to use electricity derived from alternative energy sources to power your home (even if it’s just in a small way). You don’t have to be as extreme as the Welsh villagers in Llangattock who use a stream to power their town. But even something as simple as a solar powered iPhone charger can alleviate your reliance on electricity.
On a practical level, clean out your air ducts. This is something most households should be doing on a fairly regular basis. Dust and dirt can and does build up up in air ducts, and the energy efficiency of your home suffers because of it. A simple, periodic cleaning will keep your home efficient and your air cleaner, which is great if you have seasonal or dust allergies.
Adjust your water heater. Many homes have their water heater set at a temperature that’s a lot higher than it needs to be. Turning the temperature down by just five degrees can make a difference on the energy this notorious energy consuming device uses without making much of a difference in the temperature of the water that comes out of your sinks and shower.
Replace your appliances if they’ve reached the end of their useful lives. There are a lot of energy-wasters in your home that you probably don’t even think about. If you can aim to gradually replace a few of your appliances in your home with energy-efficient models, you’ll not only have the benefit of going green. You’ll also see savings on your energy bills.
The more research you can do about shopping for things like microwaves, washer and dryer sets, heating systems, and fridges the better to make sure that you get a good deal on something that works. Every little bit counts. And in the end, what’s not to like about saving energy and saving money in a responsible way?