One of the giants of 20th Century architecture and engineering; Mies van der Rohe, is probably most remembered for the Barcelona Chair and two quotes about describing his design process: “Less is more”, and “Form follows function.” When asked to elaborate on these apparent verbal discrepancies, he stated, “Create form out of the nature of the task with the means of our time. This is our work.”
His advice to do more with less energy expended, and have the function efficiently define the form, were certainly prescient and are the basis for the 21st Century, eco-friendly paradigm that will, hopefully, mitigate the effects of climate change that endanger our coastlines.
The technological means of our time for encouraging eco-friendly activity are changing so rapidly that even the information distribution power of the Internet has trouble keeping up with them. Here are a few tips that will not only lower your carbon footprint, but will also save you a few bucks in the process.
Tip #1: Electric Cars
It started back in 1996, when General Motors offered an electric car, the EV-1, not for sale. You could only lease an EV-1 from GM for a limited time (since there were so few of them), and only if you lived in Los Angeles, or Phoenix! From these modest beginnings came an entirely new automotive structure.
Now, 22-years later, particularly in the Western United States, there is a network of charging stations widespread enough to make electric vehicles a reasonable alternative to gasoline-powered cars. These cars are more expensive, but with tax incentives offered by state governments they are being adopted by consumers faster than anyone could have predicted.
The demands upon the electrical grid are increasing exponentially, as well. Managing home electrical distribution will become more complex as electric vehicles proliferate. If you plan on purchasing an electric car, you’re going to need an EV charging system for your home, especially if you own multiple electric vehicles.
Tip #2: Buy Eco-Friendly Appliances
Back in 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started a voluntary program for conserving energy by creating the Energy Star service mark, a logo applied to all electrical appliances symbolizing an award granted to that product certifying energy efficiency.
This encouraged manufacturers to begin designing in efficiency to all of their household appliances. As the engineering got more sophisticated, and the energy efficiency increased, the EPA made the criteria for having your appliance awarded an Energy Star became more and more stringent.
Always check that any new electrical appliance you buy has the Energy Star. That means that it is as energy efficient as the latest technology can be.
Tip #3: Solar Power
There are so many federal and state tax incentives for installing solar panels on your roof that you should definitely get an estimate from a qualified installer, who will show you how soon you could reach a break-even point on this investment – usually within 5-to-7 years. If you are building a new home, solar power is a no-brainer.
Solar technology is advancing so rapidly that the most energy-efficient homes will probably be off the electrical grid, and totally self-sufficient by mid-century.
Tip #4: Insulate Your Home
You would not believe what a difference insulation will make to the temperature inside your home. Your interior could be up to 10 degrees warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer without expending any electrical energy if you aggressively insulate your walls, roof and windows.
There are all sorts of tax incentives you can take advantage of to pay for a full insulation upgrade for your home. And the energy savings will more than pay for this installation, usually within six years.
Tip #5: Grow Your Own
Have you got some sunny ground on your property that you’re just growing grass on? Why not start a vegetable garden? There’s no better way for eating healthy, and the feeling of satisfaction you’ll enjoy the first time you hear that squeak as you bite into a luscious, fresh zucchini, from your own garden no less, is extraordinary.
Clearing the soil and preparing it for planting is not nearly as difficult as you would think. It will just take a couple of weekends and there are not many family activities that could be more rewarding than planting and maintaining your own kitchen garden.
If you don’t have the space in your yard, Southern- facing windowsill boxes are a great way to brighten up your view, filter the air coming into your home and offer plenty of space for herbs and small vegetable patches.
Article Submitted By Community Writer