Green is the new black.
Buzzwords like “green living,” “eco-friendly,” and “environmentally friendly” are everywhere. Sure, you’ve checked into those products already, but you might decide that these solutions are pricier than their toxic counterparts.
Green homes are popping up everywhere. But it isn’t just trendy, it’s smart. Yet, being eco-friendly, while also saving money, can be tricky. Returning to the Earth should be an affordable alternative, but the hard numbers clearly say otherwise.
You want to do your part and save money. Is it possible to do both at the same time?
The government offers you incentives for choosing a greener lifestyle. And taking advantage of these incentives is a great way to get you started.
Getting There Is The Challenge
Take the government up on its incentive packages and you can make your home an Earth-friendly place to live. Just know that even if you save later, there will be an initial cost to get there.
As of this writing, the federal government is offering a 30% tax credit on three types of systems that can help you do your small part to save the planet, and your bottom line. Geothermal heat pumps, solar energy panels and residential wind turbines will all earn you a 30% credit on your taxes until the end of 2016.
An investment of $7,000 can yield a $2,100 tax credit. That calculation makes jumping on the green tinted wagon totally worth it.
But how do you know which system is right for you?
There Are Two Great Options For Most
While savings varies based on two factors (location and current energy costs), you can sum it up this way: an average current usage of 1000KWH per month at a $200 cost can save you up to $50 per month when you install and use solar panels that provide 250KWH of electricity per month.
But to understand your gains with precision, you must know what you’re going to save according to where you live. For example, southwestern cities of the US get much more sunlight than, say, Seattle, Washington, so residents of those cities will see a larger return on their investment than those living in less sunny spots.
Solid proof that solar energy does work, if you’re willing to make the initial investment, are cities like Cedar Hill, Texas. They installed solar panels on their government buildings and saved their taxpayers a hefty $21,000 per year.
But solar panels are not the only way to go, as solar heated water is another choice. Water heating, commonly produced by electricity, makes up roughly a fourth of the total energy needs for a normal single-family home. And while these systems are not cheap (at an average of $7,000 to install), they can save you up to a whopping 85% on water heating each year. This is a return on investment after only 5 years. Not a bad waiting period for such massive savings.
Solar energy and solar water heating are great ways to save on your energy bills, but you must know where to start.
Investigate and Implement
You can get a better estimate of your savings by using a solar energy calculator and finding out how your energy use stacks up. This will tell you how much you can save today by installing solar panels and solar water heating systems.
The site will ask you a few questions, then give you information based where you live and how much you currently pay. They’ll also tell you what size units you’ll need, how big your roof will need to be, and how much your total cost will be, after incentives.
If you want to check into a solar water heating system instead, you’ll want to check a solar water heating calculator.
You’ll need more specific information for a calculator like this, but the outcome will help you determine how much energy you use to heat water in your home, and how much you will save if you choose to use a solar powered system for your needs.
It’s hard to see money leave your pocket, but done right, living green can put more in your wallet, every single month.
Would you consider the expense of solar powered systems to save money in your home?