As environmentally conscious individuals we are often concerned about how our habits and lifestyle affect the world. We track our carbon footprint the way weight conscious individuals track their carb and fat intake. It is important to remember that a good deal of our carbon foot print can be directly attributed to our energy consumption habits in our homes. You can decrease your home’s energy consumption by increasing the insulation in your home. This will in turn lead to a smaller carbon footprint and smaller energy bill.
Applying Low-energy window tint will increase insulation of your windows. Window tint when applied to the interior of your window will regulate the amount of heat and light that will pass through the windows of your home. In summer it will decrease the amount of energy and heat allowed into your home by 75%. In winter the tint is designed to prevent the chill from entering and escaping the home through the window.
Hanging black out curtains and blinds is another way to increase your home’s insulation. While curtains and blinds are less expensive than window tint, they will only insulate your home when the curtains are down. This means that you will be unable to enjoy the view from your windows, an unfortunate turn of events if you are fortunate to live on a beach or lake front property.
Utilizing weather stripping increases the insulation of your home by filling in the holes and cracks around your window. Windows without blinds or window tint already account for a huge portion of the heat loss and gain in your home without adding gaping holes in your home—even if they seem small. Weather stripping windows involves filling those gaps with caulk or another type of sealant. You should carefully choose the product that you use; many types of caulk are made with hazardous material. You should check out low-VOC alternatives. If you have no experience with weather stripping and minimal experience with construction projects, you may want to hire a construction worker to weather strip your window.
Home owners can insulate their home naturally by planting trees and vines. This process will work in two ways: it will reduce the outside temperature by 3-6 degrees and it will shade vulnerable areas of your home from the sun. You should position your plants on the south and west sides of your home. This position will reduces summer heat gain while not decreasing winter heat gain. Best plants to include:
- Deciduous trees. These trees will provide summer shade and then shed their leaves in winter. This will allow your home to benefit from the sun at all hours of the day. Plant your trees 10 feet from your home to avoid damaging your foundation.
- Climbing vines. These will grow up the side of your home and provide extra insulation. If you have a home with wood or composite siding, you should plant against a trellis or lattice. Vines can cause wood rot in some situations. You also might want to cut the leaves back every summer because the weight of the vines might eventually damage your home.
There are of course a myriad of other green methods to insulate your home. It does not matter what green insulation method you choose, all of them will lead to an increase in your home’s efficiency and a decrease in your carbon footprint. As an added bonus, you will save money, money that you can spend on buying organic food or increasing the energy efficiency of your home.