How to Incorporate Green Power in Your Home

4 steps to environmentally friendly energy use

Green power, as defined by the EPA, is electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass or low-impact small hydroelectricity. When you use renewable energy, you are reducing your negative impact on the environment by reducing the use of electricity generated by unsustainable sources. The fuel for renewable energy restores itself in a short period of time and comes from the sun, wind, water and earth. Here are a few steps you can take to incorporate green power into your home.

Step 1: Reduce your home energy consumption

There are checklists available on websites such as the US Department of Energy to help you reduce your use of energy. Simple steps include ensuring that appliances are unplugged when not in use, choosing Energy Star appliances, using maximum power-saving settings and setting your thermostat to the lowest energy-consuming setting before leaving your home for the day. It's also important to ensure windows, doors and cracks are properly caulked and weather-stripped to maximize heating and cooling efforts.

Step 2: Purchase green power through your local electric company

Investing in green power will help support development of alternative power sources and reduce the environmental effects of conventional electricity generation. Many public utilities encourage electricity customers to purchase green power; program participants pay a modest premium added to their bills to support the generation of new renewable energy. Check with your local provider to see if they offer the program. If they don’t, this is an opportunity for you to become involved with local utilities and work with them to offer green power as an alternative.

Step 3: Switch to biofuels for home heating

If you have an oil furnace, consider switching to biofuels such as biodiesel for your home heating needs. Biodiesel is derived from vegetable oil, grain alcohol and lye, reducing demand and reliance on crude oils and ultimately the impact that drilling and transporting crude oil has on the environment. While biodiesel is a great way to heat your home and reduce your carbon footprint, it is important to thoroughly research everything involved to prevent complications while making the switch.

Step 4: Utilize solar energy

Harnessing the heating power of the sun through the use of a properly positioned, well-vented sunroom or skylight in the winter can substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Making sure the blinds are closed on the sun-facing side of your home during the summer can help keep your home cool. Add a solar tube to the darkest part of your home to reduce electricity use during the day. Consider installing solar panels to generate green electricity for your home.

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