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9 Green Ideas to try in addition to energy-efficient Solar Panels

With the expansion of the industry and increased investment, PV solar energy has made great strides in the last five years as panels have become more efficient and costs of production have

decreased. According to the Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative, they hope that with continued research and more companies entering the market, PV solar power will become a competitive source of commercial electricity by 2015.

In the mean time, greening your home to make it more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Use these 9 ideas to get started on going green.

  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Replacing just five incandescent bulbs with CFLs can save you $100 per year on electricity bills.
  • Plug air leaks around doors, windows and other spots with weather-stripping and caulk.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature at 78 degrees in summer and 62 degrees in winter when no one is home or everyone is sleeping.
  • Buy Energy Star appliances.
  • Reduce water waste by adding inexpensive aerators to your sink faucets, changing to low-flow showerheads and dual-flush or no-flush toilets.
  • Use no- or low-Volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and cleaning products. VOCs can cause many short- and long-term adverse health effects.
  • Use wood alternatives or sustainable wood products, such as rapidly renewable bamboo flooring or wood cabinets certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Plant trees to provide shade and wind protection for your home, which will reduce heating and cooling costs, and pick native plants that need less water, fertilizer and pesticides.
  • Make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently. Change filters monthly during peak usage periods.