Green Home Giveaway
Mygreenbirmingham.com is making our city greener one house at a time. Take these tips from the sponsors and homeowners of this year's winning house to green up your own home.
The Green Team: Meet Jason Harlos and Laura Kate Whitney (seated in rocking chair), this year's winner of the green home giveaway. These happy homeowners are living a little more efficiently thanks to Natalie Kelly at mygreenbirmingham.com and the people who helped make it all happen. From Left: Keith Rotenberry, Joseph Braswell, Guin; Jill Sills, Alabama Power; Erica Neel, Structures (seated); Mike Luther, AllSouth Appliance (seated); Tony Hardegree, Energy Guard; Adam Seale, Mingledorff’s (standing); Ricky Lockheart, Guin; Susan Burks, Mayer Lighting; Sam Hill, Eco Three; Natalie Kelly, mygreenbirmingham.com
photography by Holly Lynne Killian
1. LOWER YOUR BILLS To conserve energy and provide cost savings on the monthly electric bill, Alabama Power recommends an energy efficient Dual Fuel Heat Pump along with a Heat Pump Water Heater for this couple. Other suggestions? Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer, and 68 or below in the winter and turn your lights off. For more ideas, alabamapower.com
2. REPLACE OLD APPLIANCES Look for the ENERGY STAR label. This government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helps save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and promises savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort. Also, look for a refrigeration appliance with a high-efficiency motor, improved or thicker insulation (polyurethane foam or fiberglass), and choose the smallest unit which will meet your needs. A large refrigerator or freezer uses more energy than a smaller one.
3. BUILD/RENOVATE FOR LONGEVITY Erica Neel, contractor and owner of Structures, Inc., led the makeover process. Her expertise contributed to the management and success of the retrofit while ensuring that renovations met or exceeded code standards.
4. REPLACE BULBS AND UPDATE FIXTURES Replace bulbs with LED or compact flourescents. If every household replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star rated bulb, the US would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for one year, save $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. (source: energystar.gov)
5. INSULATE A home that is properly sealed will help ensure comfort. Energy Guard performed sealing and caulking for the winning home, as well as provided new Energy rated storm windows. Homes lose heat and air conditioning primarily through floors, walls, and ceilings. 70% is lost through other cracks and crevices. Government studies reveal that 50% to 70% of home utility bills are attributed to heating and cooling costs. (source: betterinsulation.com). Storm windows also help to insulate. The added layer of glass protects against drafty windows—especially in older homes.
6. CONDUCT AN ENERGY AUDIT Eco Three stands for Energy Efficient Environment. These home energy experts conducted a comprehensive energy audit that revealed ways the couple could reduce energy consumption and monthly expenses.
7. LANDSCAPE FOR SUSTAINABILITY Sustainable Landscaping Tip — Use shredded mulch in your flower beds. Mulch has tons of great benefits: it helps retain water for thirsty plants, it helps prevent weeds, it helps with erosion, it decomposes and adds nutrients to your soil and it looks great. It is one of the easiest ways to add instant curb appeal and your plants will thank you.
8. RESERVE RAINWATER When in drought, or anytime, collect rainwater for irrigation on dry summer days. You’ll save costs on your water bill and keep your garden investment and curb appeal looking top notch.
9. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE This year’s winners received lots of approving nods from the sponsors. Do-it-yourselfers, the couple crafted, built, and repurposed many of the items in their home. Laura Kate recovered second hand chairs and Jason crafted the floor mirror in the living room as well as the linear dining chandelier (reclaimed wood and LED lights). Adding to their resourcefulness, they added a coffee table from Sawyer Vinson Art Build. Made from salvaged wood, the table wood showcases it former life with evidence of nailhead markings.
10. KNOW WHERE TO GO Need to know what days your neighborhood recycles? For information and sorting advice, visit . Want to learn more about the products featured here visit mygreenbirmingham.com
Would you like a green makeover? Check out the Birmingham WISE program. Qualified homeowners can receive up to $750 in instant rebates for energy efficiency improvements like many seen in the Green Home Giveaway. For more information, mygreenbirmingham.com.
Click here to check out these products and our sponsors for some surprisingly simple ways to green up your own home.