You don’t have to be a contractor to be able to make some changes to your home that will make it greener and more sustainable for the years to come. There are many things that you can do that require little skill and sometimes just a willingness to change how you do things around the house will make a big difference.
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Today Sonoma County Properties is publishing the last article I have written on this subject. One BIG thing you can do (this may require some skill or a cash investment on your part) and a few smaller things (that anyone can do) that will make a difference in your savings, your comfort or your “carbon footprint”. 

1. Install a biomass boiler. Although maybe more realistic for a commercial building; study this innovative way to cut petroleum use in heating systems. They require a hefty up-front investment.

2. Use a garbage disposal. If you don't have the time or the room to compost, using a garbage disposal can be greener than putting organic matter into the garbage.

3. Buy your energy from a renewable source. There may also be options where you can purchase your power from LOCAL renewable sources.

4. Buy a programmable thermostat. Why have the heat or air up when you're not at home? Use a programmable thermostat to maximize your energy savings.

5. Use motion sensor lights in areas like closets. If you find that you often forget to turn the light off when you slip into your closet or storage area, use a motion sensor light instead. It'll turn on when you're using it and turn off when you leave.

6. Design for the future; this can save you thousands. When planning a redesign of your home, make sure you account for age, new family members and other life changes. That way you won't find yourself needing to do another remodel a few years down the road.

7. Look at energy ratings. Don't buy appliances or electronics without doing a little research into their energy ratings. A little up-front research could save you money down the line.

8. Make sure the wood you use in your home is harvested from sustainable sources. You don't want your new deck to be made of wood that came from a virgin rainforest, so double check this.

9. Use wheat and strawboard. These building materials are made from sustainably harvested materials.

Here are a couple of ideas to reduce the amount of water you're using every day.

10. Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation. These are much more efficient ways to water your outdoor plants.

11. Water reclamation. You can use a system to capture all of the rain runoff from roof and gutters and store it in large tanks or even just an open rain barrel can allow you to save the water which you can then use for your plants, yard, etc.

So; in closing I would like to say that the subject is bigger than all of us. I think there may be something we can all learn from each other on the subject. I would also like to warn you; watch out for “greenwashing” that would be products labeled as green just to boost their saleability. Do your homework and look beneath the surface. If you would like to discuss this or any other real estate matter, please call

Ron L. Welsh & Sons

Sonoma County Properties

at 707-823-2533

7 Generations of Buying and Selling Sonoma County Real Estate

7 Generations of Building a Great Reputation!