Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Get Green for Going Green

Inarguably, one of the biggest trends to hit Seattle in the past decade has been the desire to adopt a greener life style. A number of recent fear-inducing environmental issues have spurred Seattlites to become more aggressive, launching us to being ranked among the top 10 “Most Green” US Cities . More and more people are stepping in the right direction toward minimizing their carbon foot prints. Consumers are buying electric cars, purchasing products made only from recycled materials, and now, taking their energy saving habits and applying them to their homes. Home-owners can significantly decrease the amount of energy used in their homes by installing new windows and doors, providing insulation, or merely upgrading to energy-efficient appliances-and now they can get paid for it!! The idea stemmed from the recent stimulus “Cash for Clunkers” which allowed vehicle owners to trade in gas-guzzlers for their new, and greener, substitutes. Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Home Star Bill, which will create a program aptly named “Cash for Caulkers”, providing that home-owners who make energy-efficient improvements to their homes this year will be eligible for cash rebates. The Silver Star portion of the two-part bill allows for up to $3,000 cash in rebates for improvements. Owners will receive between $1000 and $1500 for each improvement, or $250 per appliance. The second portion, Gold Star, provides up to $3,000 in rebates if home-owners conduct whole-house energy analysis and improve their home energy by 20 percent. Every additional 5 percent will guarantee another $1,000 in rebates to the owner, up to a maximum $8,000. This means cash back in your hands.

Renovating your home for the good of the environment is soon to be more affordable than ever. However, steps must be taken to ensure that owners are not making needless improvements. If you need help figuring out how to start your home’s going green process, find out what it is you can fix. Consider conducting an easy, do-it-yourself energy audit (or consult a professional if need be), which will assess how much energy your home actually consumes. This way, you can pinpoint where improvements would be most effective. Once you’ve determined the areas in which you can preserve the most, start the process. There are many online resources which can direct you in finding a green home professional to begin construction-another bill bonus, job creation- who will oversee the project. Online resources can also provide you with ideas and/or materials to make these improvements if you decide to make them yourself. Websites such as greenhomeimprovement.com, greenhomeguide.com and energy.com are easily accessible and extremely helpful for the inexperienced green builder. Take the time to decrease your energy consumption and increase your cash flow. Happy renovating Seattle!


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