Slowly but surely, the world’s governments are coming around to the idea that our environment must be protected and measures must be taken to ensure our planet survives for generations to come. As the global attitude towards the climate change crisis shifts, more homeowners are looking to live greener lives by creating zero-carbon homes. Many people are looking to live greener lives but are unsure how to achieve that goal. Thankfully, living an eco-friendly life needn’t be expensive or time-consuming despite common misconceptions. Through a combination of structural improvements and lifestyle changes, anyone can live an eco-friendly life at home.



More Energy Efficient Appliances

Beginners' Guide to Creating a Zero-Carbon Home

Common household appliances like stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes dryers generally account for 28% of a household’s total energy usage second only to heating and cooling systems. Modern appliances are superior to older models, but even among new appliances, some options are greener than others.

Propane is considered an efficient, eco-friendly, and approved clean fuel as defined by the 1990 Clean Air Act. The toxic smell propane is known for is artificially added at processing plants so humans can detect a gas leak, but propane is naturally odorless and non-toxic. Many homeowners who are looking to trade in their old appliances are incorporating propane appliances as eco-friendly replacements. Water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves, and some refrigerators have models that use propane for fuel.

If propane appliances are unavailable, look for Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is a program founded in 1992 that is backed by the US government and provides energy efficiency consumer information. A product affixed with the Energy Star symbol has been deemed energy efficient with the Environmental Protection Agency ensuring every product that earns the label has been independently certified. There are a wide variety of Energy Star appliances including dishwashers, clothes dryers, freezers, and refrigerators that are available for purchase at most major retailers.


Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Beginners' Guide to Creating a Zero-Carbon Home

The incandescent light bulb has been the standard light bulb for decades, but there are superior options on the market today thanks to modern innovation. Edison’s incandescent light bulb has been surpassed in every performance metric by CFL and LED light bulbs. CFL and LED bulbs shine longer, use less energy, produce a brighter light than incandescent bulbs. CFL and LED bulbs do cost more than incandescent bulbs, but that upfront cost is recouped over time through energy savings and not needing to replace bulbs as frequently. Comparing incandescent and CFL bulbs demonstrates how a homeowner would save money over time by using CFL bulbs:

  • Incandescent bulbs cost roughly $1 per bulb and CFL bulbs cost roughly $2 per bulb.
  • The average incandescent bulb lasts for 1,200 hours while CFL bulbs last for 8,000.

Using these two metrics, we can determine it would take approximately 21 incandescent bulbs to provide 25,000 hours of light while it would only take 3 CFL bulbs to achieve 25,000 hours of light. This means you would spend roughly $21 on only incandescent bulbs over 20 years and $6 on CFL bulbs over the same time.

When we add energy consumption to the equation, CFL bulbs blow incandescent bulbs out of the water. The cost of electricity, assuming a flat rate of $.15 per kWh over 25,000 hours, for an incandescent bulb is $169 while a CFL bulb would only use $52 worth of energy. Combining the cost of the bulbs and the electricity clearly shows that CFL bulbs are vastly superior to incandescent bulbs.



Additional Insulation

Appliances use the second most energy (28%) in a typical household, but heating and cooling systems take the top spot (31%). Replacing a home’s heating and cooling system is expensive, but there are ways to make your existing HVAC system more efficient by better insulating your home. Proper insulation ensures that air can’t leak out of your house and that the outside environment can’t get in your house. When your house doesn’t leak air, your HVAC system needn’t use as much energy to maintain a set temperature which reduces your carbon footprint. Fortify your home’s insulation by double glazing windows, plug your chimney with a specifically designed balloon, install curtains to trap heat inside, seal cracks in hardwood floors with wood glue, and add insulation foam or board around crawl spaces and in basements or attics.

Living a greener life should be a goal of every homeowner. By using more energy-efficient appliances, swapping old light bulbs for CFL or LED bulbs, and adding insulation you can lower your carbon footprint at home.

Guest post by Gwen Lewis


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Beginners' Guide to Creating a Zero-Carbon Home - Living a greener life should be a goal of every homeowner. By using more energy-efficient appliances, swapping old light bulbs for CFL or LED bulbs, and adding insulation you can lower your carbon footprint at home.  #zerocarbon  #zerocarbonhome  #lowercarbonfootprint  #ecofriendlyhome  #CFLBulbs  #LEDBulbs  #livinggreener





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