As threats to our power supply become more possible, increasing our energy resilience is crucial. Resilience-building energy and sustainability practices, both for homeowners and businesses, help maintain energy availability in all types of emergencies. Instituting sustainable upgrades year-round can save money, reduce energy consumption, and lower our carbon footprint.
What is sustainability?
Sustainable practices are not harmful to the environment, won’t be depleted with repeated use, and seek to protect the earth for future generations. Green businesses strive to minimize adverse environmental outcomes as much as they seek to maximize profits. Homeowners who seek to live sustainably are lighter on the planet and realize lower energy bills.
Here are some year-round sustainable upgrades that can decrease your power usage and increase your energy resilience:
1. Use rainwater barrels to reduce water consumption
Rainwater barrels allow businesses and homeowners to harvest rainwater by catching it in a barrel as it flows from the gutters of a home or building. This reduces the run-off that ends up having to be treated at the sewage plant. Some cities like Detroit, offer tax credits for reducing run-off. Homeowners can use the water for tasks such as gardening or car washing. For businesses, rainwater harvesting can reduce your water bill, your sewage bill, your overall energy usage and decrease the amount of water taken from nearby water sources.
2. Install a radiant heating or cooling system
Radiant heating and cooling allow businesses and homeowners to use less power by heating or cooling surfaces rather than the air. Radiant heating systems direct warmth straight to a floor, wall, or ceiling, which then transfers it to the entire room. Radiant cooling systems work similarly, but absorb heat rather than distributing it.
3. Buy furniture that is used or made of eco-friendly materials
Purchasing used furniture not only costs less but also reduces landfill waste. New furniture is often made of materials such as plastic, the creation of which contributes to fossil fuel consumption, or wood, which contributes to deforestation. When purchasing new furniture, look for pieces that are made of environmentally friendly materials.
4. Decrease paper and plastic use
Whether you run a business or own a home, you should strive to reduce your use of paper and disposable plastic. Companies can stock their kitchens with reusable cutlery and plates that employees can hand wash easily. Homeowners can purchase and designate a few sets of cutlery for lunch pails, so disposable plastic utensils are unnecessary.
To reduce paper use, always think before you print. Do you need this information on paper? Or can you store and view it electronically? Services such as DocuSign and Evernote provide digital alternatives to paper, and online storage eliminates the need for paper files.
5. Choose energy-efficient windows
Energy star windows lower household or small business energy bills by 7 to 15%. For warmer climates, choose special glass coatings that help reflect the sun. For colder climates, windows with extra insulation will keep your home comfortable in the winter months.
6. Install solar tubes and skylights
Solar tubes funnel sunlight into areas that do not have windows. This sunlight provides vitamin D and is more ergonomic. Solar tubes and skylights are an energy-saving upgrade as they allow natural light to brighten interior spaces, resulting in less use of electric lights, reduced energy consumption, and lower electricity bills.
Installing a solar array is one of the most cost-effective, sustainable upgrades for a home or business. Solar power can reduce your energy bills, increase your home’s value, increase your energy resilience, and reduce your carbon footprint. Michigan Solar Solutions can work with you to determine what solar system suits your home or business needs. Request a free analysis from us today!
Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served the lower peninsula of Michigan since 2007. We have installed thousands of panels and have a happy customer near you, check out what our customers think of us Guild Quality.