Mother Earth Living

Best for Energy Efficiency: Sustainable Home Products

Cut your utility bills—and conserve fossil fuels—by replacing your home’s biggest energy hogs with efficient, effective new products.
By Misty McNally
January/February 2010
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On average, solar water heating systems reduce water heating bills by 50 to 80 percent, according to the Department of Energy.

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Improving the efficiency of big-ticket items makes a major dent in your bills and your home’s carbon output. Until December 31, 2010, energy-efficiency upgrades may qualify for one or more federal tax credits worth hundreds—even thousands—of dollars. The tax credit has restrictions, so read the fine print. Many products require professional installation and customization, so pricing varies. Get a detailed written estimate along with a certificate verifying the product’s federal tax credit qualifications. These items can make the biggest difference in your home’s efficiency.

Get into hot water

Water heating makes up a third of the typical home’s energy bill. A tankless water heater will use about 30 percent less energy than a tank-style. Or choose a solar hot water system for long-term payoffs. Either way, it’s an investment—but the tax credit makes your initial cash outlay much smaller.

Tankless hot water systems

(800) 503-5028

(800) 519-8794

(866) 766-7489

(866) 746-6241

Solar hot water systems

(519) 268-6500

(800) 994-7652

Novan Solar
(303) 279-8108

Real Goods DIY kits
(800) 919-2400

SunMaxx Solar
(877) 786-6299

Open windows of opportunity

Replace leaky, drafty windows and doors with ones designed to minimize solar heat gain and maximize insulation.

Champion Windows
(888) 296-7788

Crestline Windows and Doors
(800) 826-5509

(800) 535-3936
(800) 374-4758

Renewal By Andersen
(800) 595-1967

Marvin Windows and Doors
(888) 537-7828

Reflect on this

A reflective roof can reduce roof surface temperatures by as much as 100 degrees, saving 40 percent on your home cooling bill. Metal roofing usually has recycled content, too.

American Building Components
(800) 345-0044

Classic Metal Roofing
(800) 543-8938

Interlock Roofing
(888) 766-3661

(909) 947-0311

Wrap it up

A home’s heating/cooling system is usually its biggest energy eater. Make it work less by insulating well, with a product made from natural or recycled materials.

BioBased Insulation soy foam
(800) 803-5189
spray-foam products

Bonded Logic
(480) 812-9114
UltraTouch recycled denim or newspaper

Central Fiber
(800) 654-6117
recycled-paper cellulose

Owens Corning
(800) 438-7465
recycled-glass fiberglass

For more ways to save, check out the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Home Energy Saver Calculator.

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