Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties can experience warmer temperatures in the summer season. Anticipating the utility bill at the end of the month doesn’t have to make you sweat.
Making your home more energy-efficient is a simple way to save hundreds of dollars a month on utility bills and reduce negative impacts on the planet. In fact, energy-efficient and sustainable homes have seen a major rise in the past few years among buyers, according to the 2019 National Association of REALTORS® sustainability report survey.
There is also a growing global concern about climate change, energy use and individual impact on the environment. It’s no surprise that often the first and easiest step to reducing one’s carbon footprint begins with simple home improvements.
Choosing the best
If you have ever looked at the packaging or labels on an energy-efficient appliance, the terminology and code words can be a bit confusing. Many products or appliances can say energy efficient but not be nationally rated.
Look for the Energy Star logo. This is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) energy-efficiency rating program that classifies the amount of energy production, release and savings of a product. If you upgrade your appliances, this is the leading rating you want to have.
There are also green certifications contractors or developers can earn that measure and adhere to strict standards for indoor air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and water conservation, such as National Green Building Standard (NGBS) and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). This takes it a step beyond just saving wattage but ensuring your home is a healthy living environment.
Going green is easier than people initially think, and most of these improvements can be purchased at a local hardware store.
Simple steps lead to leaps and bounds
Energy evaluation – One of the first and easiest steps to take in making your home greener is requesting an energy evaluation conducted by your current electric company. This can give you a clear indication of where in your home energy is used or lost the most.
Let there be light – Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use 25%-80% less energy. They cost more than the average bulbs, but you see the savings over time. Of course, there are tech-savvy ingenuities such as motion-sensor lighting elements that turn off the lights after inactivity in the room, in case you forget to turn off the light. When skimming the packages, look for keywords about kilowattage, lifespan and illumination.
Down the drain – Conserve on your water use and cut energy expense by adding faucet aerators to your sinks. Found at most home improvement stores, this little device can cut down on water splash and flow rate which can save water and reduce hot water usage – which saves you money in the long haul.
Baths – Maybe even more than the kitchen, the bathroom is where most of the water and heating from a hot water tank takes place. Most homes spend a majority of their utility expenses on heating water and water usage according to the EPA.
By installing a dual-flush toilet, you reduce the amount of water used per flush. If a fancy commode is out of your scope, a thrifty trick is putting a brick, rock or filled jar in the water tank of the toilet to take up space, limiting and reducing how much water fills.
It’s good practice to take shorter showers, fewer baths, and maybe even collect the water in a bucket while it’s heating up to use for other purposes so less water is wasted, overall. Or, you can simply purchase a reduced-flow showerhead. Reduced-flow showerheads are similar to faucet aerators and create less steam. Look for a flow rate less than 2.5gpm (gallons per minute).
The heart of the home – Kitchens sell homes because that is where most people gather. That is also where most of the energy-producing and consuming appliances are. By now, you’ve switched your lightbulbs and installed aerators on the sink. Now, let’s look at the big items:
- Dishwashers – A standard-capacity dishwasher with a booster heater can save money, heating, and water-use. Also, it’s good practice to only run the dishwasher when there is a full load. Read the EnergyGuide label on dishwashers to find the right one for your home’s needs.
- Ovens and Refrigerators – Simply look for the Energy Star rating and research the highest energy-efficient brands or appliance for what your home and family needs.
Be cool – A programmable thermostat can help regulate the heating and cooling of your whole house to ensure it’s always the right – and efficient – temperature. There are even some brands that are smart-home innovation that helps eliminate any user errors with programming.
Coming clean – Like dishwashers, clothes washers have an EnergyGuide label and are Energy Star rated. Programmable machines allow you to select the water temperature and load size with specific settings that help reduce water and heating needs. Front-loading washers also tend to be more efficient than top-loading. As a best practice, use the cold water setting as the default temperature to save on heating costs.
Maybe, by now, you’re feeling inspired and motivated. You want to look for more ways to save energy and ultimately money. The whole home can be upgraded to energy-efficient features such as air conditioning and heating; water heaters; insulation and seals; a new roof; energy-efficient and insulated windows, sliders and doors; and solar panels. It is best to hire a professional for these jobs to be certain everything is installed properly and discover if you qualify for county or state incentives by making your house greener.
Exceptional energy-efficient properties
Meritorious properties that exceed rating standards for being environmentally-friendly, sustainably-built, and energy-efficient can be found throughout Sarasota County and beyond. Creating a green home does not mean compromising luxury accommodations or stellar features. For example, two Michael Sauders & Company properties are extraordinary examples of blending luxe finishes with green design.
168 Bryant Drive – Lido Key – Sarasota
Coastal luxe living, eco-friendly build and high-performance ingenuity comes together to create a Gulf-side paradise that exceeds expectations as a Platinum Certified Florida Green Home. Solar panels, LED lighting inside and out, complete Energy Star-rated appliances with LeakSafe technology devices, and insulated low-e impact-resistant windows just top the list of the green-focused finishes. Constructed with local, sustainably-sourced, and renewable materials inside and out, this completely concrete Key West-style home also includes a soy-based insulated attic, treated trusses, sealed and insulated garage doors, and comes complete with a thermometer in the attic showing the home is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Featuring 3 beds, 3 .5 baths, nearly 2,700 sq.ft., a heatable saltwater pool and summer kitchen, the utility bills for this residence stay at approximately $100 ($200 if heating the pool) year-round.
1744 Fortuna Street – Granada – Sarasota
Custom-built by My Green Builders as a Certified Florida Green Home and featuring designer interiors, this residence is absolutely one-of-a-kind. State-of-the-art appliances that peak the energy-efficiency rating, natural wood elements, LED lighting, high-efficiency air conditioners and remote-controlled blinds blend beauty with green innovation. Built in 2014, this home includes 4 beds, 3.5 baths, and over 2,800 sq.ft. with an expressed appreciation for tropical landscaping surrounding the tranquil pool deck.
If you are considering selling your home and it doesn’t need major improvements but you’re still looking for a way to make it stand out on the market, consider going green. First, contact an expert MSC real estate agent in your area with experience selling energy-efficient homes that can connect you to qualified LEED, NGBS, FGBC certified contractor or specialist.
Why Energy-Efficient Upgrades – Energy.gov explain the benefits of upgrading to energy-efficient features and appliances in your home.
Energy Star – Review the complete list and details of Energy Star ratings for appliances and devices and helpful ways-to-save tips.
You may also enjoy